We excitedly celebrated the first day of school last week. As you know, Dakota Memorial School is its own school district with educational facilities on the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch’s Bismarck, Fargo, and Minot campuses.
I asked School Superintendent, Marcia Bartok, to answer a few questions about Dakota Memorial School, just so I could share them with you!
What is most exciting about the new school year?
I’m always most excited about having kids back in the building. Having our students back in school gives us the opportunity to teach them using the strategies and tools we learned over the summer. At teacher and staff workshops last week, we all learned effective cutting-edge practices to engage students in relationships—which enables us to deliver content more effectively.
What makes Dakota Memorial School special?
Everything! DMS is truly poised to help the most troubled, complicated, and amazing kids by providing best-in-class education where we look kids in the eye, walk with them, and help them become their best selves in this world and in Christ.
We keep the focus on the students by asking, “What can we do to pave the way for learning?” Most of our students have not been successful in school, so we must “think out of the box” every moment of the school day. We are a trauma-sensitive school that weaves high academic rigor with research-based clinical/therapeutic strategies applicable to the school setting. I know of no other North Dakota school that does this!
In addition, as a collective community, we embrace our combined passions, knowledge and skills. We rely on each other as we strive to meet each student’s individual educational needs. We are curious about new journeys, new methods to reach students, and new ways to meet our own personal needs so we stand on a firm foundation while we teach and serve.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I am learning to pause and be present in each moment; as I am increasingly aware that a moment is all I really have. Our ability to be in the moment impacts our students, our family, our friends, and everyone in our lives.
Pausing to savor the moment creates neuropathways of gratitude and joy. It can also provide precious seconds between stimulus and response when handling difficult situations. Jesus himself took Pause to be with the Father. This is a message I will share in trainings and communications to all DMS staff this school year. I’m pretty darn excited!!!
Ms. Bartok is not the only one who is excited. The lunch room was buzzing today with the sound of kids talking about classes and art projects. I could feel something in the air. Perhaps it is the combined energy of happy teachers and hopeful students that make the start of the year so special.
Thank you so much for your continued prayers for our kids and for your support.
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Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is a Christian residential treatment and educational center for children and their families. We help the most troubled, complicated, and amazing kids by providing best-in-class psychiatric therapy and trauma-informed care, where we look kids in the eye, walk with them, and help them become their best selves.