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West Fargo Public Schools: The District of Choice

Beth Slette

Many in the West Fargo Public Schools community may know me from past roles in the district,

but for those who do not, allow me to share a bit about my journey in education. First, it must be

said that it is an exciting time to be serving West Fargo Public Schools as Superintendent! While

the majority of my career has been with WFPS, I did begin my teaching career in the

Mahnomen Public School District as a teacher at Naytahwaush Elementary School. In 1993, I

took a position at Harwood Elementary School, which began my tenure with North Dakota's

district of choice. In 2003, I served as a transition coordinator, planning for the transition of sixth

graders out of the elementary schools and into the new middle school (Cheney). When Cheney

Middle School opened the following year, I accepted an assistant principal position there. Three

years later, I was named principal at Westside Elementary. After serving four years at Westside,

I moved to the district office, first to serve as director of assessment and federal programs, and

then as assistant superintendent.

I have seen many changes in the district the past 25 years, but the biggest change has been the

growth! When I began teaching in the district in 1993, there were 4,755 students. Today, our

enrollment is more than 10,550. Our district sees the majority of our growth occurring at the

elementary level, but those students obviously move through the system, increasing our

enrollment at both the middle and high school levels, as well. Thanks to the passage of the

November 2015 bond referendum with 79.67 percent voter support, and the School Board's excellent

management of the building fund and other revenue sources, we have been able to just barely

keep up with this remarkable growth.

This past fall, we registered 974 kindergarteners, which exceeded our projections and prompted

the School Board to commission a task force to study district facility needs. The Long-Range

Facility Planning Committee quickly realized that the problem in need of resolution was going to

be secondary space. This fall, 100 eighth grade students will attend Sheyenne High School

because Liberty Middle School is already full, and as our 974 kindergarten students move

through the system, the problem only worsens for both the north and south side of the district.

The work of the committee resulted in scheduling a special election for Tuesday, September 25

for a bond referendum package that will address the projects listed below:

-High school and middle school

A new high school and middle school would be built on the south side of the district,

within the city limits of Horace located along 76th Avenue South and east of Sheyenne


-Elementary classroom equity

Independence Elementary, Aurora Elementary, Eastwood Elementary, and Freedom

Elementary would all receive designated learning spaces for music, art, gifted and

talented, and health classes.

-Horace Elementary School addition

Horace Elementary School would receive an addition of 10 classrooms to allow for it to

become a four-section school.

-Harwood Elementary School addition and renovation

Harwood Elementary School would receive a regulation-size gymnasium, office space,

and a secured building entrance.

-Security upgrades

Westside Elementary, South Elementary, Eastwood Elementary, L.E. Berger

Elementary, and the Early Childhood Center would all receive a redesigned main

entrance with this project. There will also be funds available for upgrades to our camera

systems, and the potential for other security initiatives like visual emergency indicators to

complement our existing audio indicators, and bullet-resistant film for entrances and


-High school synthetic turf

The three high schools would each receive turf for additional physical education classes

and for use by the football and soccer teams.

The future of West Fargo is bright, and I am humbled and honored to serve as the

superintendent. I take this role very seriously and will work tirelessly to uphold the high

expectations of the people I serve. I am thankful for the community support, dedicated staff,

caring families, and most of all, the students. They are our future and deserve the very best

education possible. West Fargo Public Schools truly is the district of choice.