Alexandria School District meets educational needs of American Indian students, says advisory committee

Superintendent shares 'Points of Pride' at the Monday, Feb. 27, school board meeting.

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ALEXANDRIA — All Minnesota school districts with 10 or more American Indian students, under state statute, need to have an American Indian Parent Advisory Committee.

The committee serves in an advisory role to the district. And according to the state statute, the district must complete an American Indian Parent Advisory Committee Resolution.

According to a resolution approved by Alexandria School Board members Monday, Feb. 27, the school board must ensure that programs are planned, operated and evaluated in consultation with the committee, among other items.

The resolution also has to be signed by the committee chairperson determining if the school district is in compliance with the items in the resolution.

Theresa Ziebarth-Moritz, who spoke during Monday’s meeting, is from the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation. She said Alexandria is meeting the educational needs of American Indian students.


“I really feel it’s happening in District 206,” she said. “Students are learning about Native American history in Minnesota. Indian people are still here and it’s important to know their history. District 206 is real and passionate about our kids.”

When asked about how many American Indian students are in the district, Ziebarth-Moritz said between 37 and 48, but that there could be more who are not self-identifying.

Points of Pride

Alexandria Superintendent Rick Sansted shared nearly three pages of Points of Pride Monday's meeting. He said it was probably the most he has ever shared.

The Points of Pride recognizes students and staff each month for excelling or doing something great.

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Rick Sansted

Here are a few of the items that Sansted shared during the meeting:

  • Carlos Elementary second-grade teacher, Stephanie Groetsch, has been nominated for the 2023 Minnesota Teacher of the Year to be awarded in May.
  • Freshman Kyler Kavanagh placed first in diving at the State True Team Meet for swimming and diving.
  • Carlee Schliepsiek was selected as an award winner of the 2022-23 Elks Grand Lodge Americanism Essay Contest with her response to the question, “What is Your American Dream?”
  • The DMS Honor Choir, consisting of Claire Eken, Ruby Chipman, Autumn Magana, Amelia Schafer, Grace Femrite, Addison Stevenson, Isabella Wilson, Hanna Allen, Amelia Meier, Keon Wood, Jaden Norheim, Bryson Lloyd, Hudson Kleven, Caleb Crowser, Elisa Runge and Everleigh Quick attended a Middle Level Choir Festival at NDSCS College in Wahpeton, where they collaborated with well-known choral directors and more than 180 singers from surrounding schools to perform a concert for friends and family.
  • About 100 elementary students had artwork chosen to be displayed in the Māk Art Exhibition hosted by Alexandria Technical and Community College. Olivia Olson (1st grade at Voyager), Kajsa Sugden (3rd grade at Garfield) and Avionn Davis-Ajowha (5th grade at Lincoln) were winners in the Voter’s Choice competition. 

Sansted also shared donations and grants that were given to the school district, including the following:

  • Community Education received a $14,000 grant from the Bernick’s Family Foundation to support planning for the Alexandria Challenge Park. 
  • Community Education also received a $2,000 grant from Geneva Capital to fund a Family Fun Night with free activities for attendees.
  • Community Education received a $3,828 donation from Doubleback Gymnastics Association to purchase additional cubbies for the Gymnastics Center hallway.

Public comments about code of conduct

Three people spoke at the end of the meeting during the public comment period – Phil Sammon, Lynne Lommen and Judd Hoff.

Both Sammon and Lommen expressed concerns about how new school board member, Laura Knudsen, was treated when she asked questions regarding reading proficiency for students at the high school.


They said how she was treated broke the school’s Code of Conduct.

Sammon said, “This board failed to live up to its mission statement, which is right behind you.”

Lommen said that how she was treated was disrespectful and that she was speaking up to defend Knudsen’s statements and her right to voice them.

Hoff disagreed and said that it was Knudsen who was disrespectful and that people should “Leave our superintendent alone.”

Both last month’s meeting and Monday night’s meeting can be viewed on the school district’s website, Click on the words, “I want to” on the right side and then “Watch a School Board Meeting” in the window that pops up.

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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