West Fargo Schools to Add Nine Positions Thanks to Federal Grant

(West Fargo, ND) -- Federal funding is set to pay major dividends for the West Fargo School District.

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund is a federal grant aimed at alleviating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s educational agencies. Funds were distributed to states in three phases, after which states distributed funds to districts based on size, demographics, and needs. West Fargo Public Schools has been granted $22,631,978 through ESSER, which will be distributed over the next three academic years. 

The West Fargo School Board directed district administration to allocate approximately half of the funds available each year to academic supports and half to facility improvements. The intent of this allocation model is to limit the number of new programs or positions that will need to be discontinued once the grant ends. 

"As our district’s enrollment has increased, so too has the demand for highly trained staff and diversified behavioral and academic responses," said West Fargo Schools Public Relations Specialist Stephanie Hansen. "To address these growing needs, the Special Education Department has used ESSER funds to add nine full-time positions for the life of the grant."

Those positions include:

  • Three Behavior Coaches (One for each high school) - Cost: $70,000 each
  • A Behavioral Specialist at the Early Childhood Learning Center - Cost: $108,240
  • Five Lead Behavioral Technicians (distributed around the district) - Cost: $43,500 each

These positions will be filled within three years, or the length of the grant.

The addition of these positions has allowed for a restructure of the current behavior team in West Fargo, which allows for a continued emphasis on positive behavioral supports while expanding to meet acute student needs. Each of the nine positions, strategically designed and placed throughout the district, will directly support our staff and students. Thus far, seven positions have been filled with highly qualified individuals who will be joining the district with extensive experience in supporting students with complex behavioral needs in the school setting.