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WFPS: Building our future

West Fargo Public Schools leaders are well on their way with planning new middle and high schools in Horace. Heritage Middle School will open the fall of 2020, and West Fargo Horace High School will open the fall of 2021. There have been a variety of task forces commissioned since the passing of our $106.9 million bond in September of 2018. They were created to engage parents, students, staff, administration, and community members in important decisions around transition planning, programming, school naming, mascot selection, and school colors selection.

WFPS is well-equipped to move nimbly on these processes, as planning a new school is a yearly occurrence for our district, and we have learned so much with each new project we complete. District leaders spend several hours each week meeting with architects and contractors to plan every little detail. In addition, we travel to other districts to see spaces that might meet the needs of our learners, in the spirit of providing innovative spaces that allow for collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. We previously visited Legacy High School in North Dakota, and we more recently visited Alexandria, Farmington, and Shakopee High Schools in Minnesota. We are also exploring career workforce academies in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Oklahoma.

In addition to looking at physical building structures, we also discuss our values and beliefs for the future of all students. We know our students need to be prepared for tomorrow's world, not yesterday's. We value and believe that all students can and will learn. However, each learner has different needs relevant to time, interests, and learning styles. Therefore, we must develop systems and structures to address the differentiated learning needs of students preparing them to be successful individuals in their future 21st century careers. The pace of learning needs to be addressed while allowing for both small and large group instruction. In addition, it is imperative for school systems to design learning opportunities that are both meaningful and relevant, creating problem solvers and solution seekers. Our new and existing schools need flexible, open spaces with plenty of natural light, movable furniture, and 21st century technology, equipment, and supplies. With these spaces also comes the need for professional development for our educators to be able to utilize these spaces to their fullest extent.

In addition to planning new buildings, we are also planning for innovative practices at all our schools. Our district is moving towards personalized, competency-based learning practices in all schools across the district. Over the next four years, we will implement practices to:

• Increase student choice opportunities that are articulated in the Guaranteed Viable Curriculum and organically in every classroom.

• Allow students to demonstrate their learning in multiple ways.

• Engage students in higher levels of depth of knowledge and more creation.

• Increase student voice by asking students for insight into their passions, thoughts, and reflections on the process.

• Make a more deliberate connection to the purpose of learning and connect it to the real world.

• Provide staff and students with opportunities to learn about and implement strategies to promote mental wellness.

• Provide students with enrichment opportunities.

• Utilize standards-based/referenced grading to provide students with meaningful, actionable feedback.

• Foster the development of the key dispositions outlined in the profile of a graduate.

• Utilize instructional tools that simplify the teaching and learning process.

West Fargo Public Schools recruits and retains the finest educators, and with the support from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction's grant supporting PCBL, we will be positioned to ensure that every graduate with be post-secondary, career, and/or military ready.