Education

Vocational Education Through the Years

Vocational Education Through the Years

In the 1960s, Dakota Boys Ranch faced some serious education issues. At that time, the Ranch's education program consisted of two elementary teachers, one full-time and one part-time. Consequently, the Ranch was basically dependent on the public schools for educating the boys living at the Ranch. Many of the boys had special education needs and most had difficulty functioning in the public school setting due to backgrounds of neglect.…

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More Than Her Broken Past: Young woman moves from victim to survivor to advocate

More Than Her Broken Past: Young woman moves from victim to survivor to advocate

One absent mother. One abusive father struggling with addiction. Five stepmothers. 29 schools. 12 states. Six foster homes. Countless hospital and treatment facility stays. You'd think all of that would add up to an angry and defiant young woman. And, in many ways, you'd be right. Brooklynn is angry. She is angry people treated her the way they did, especially the very people who were supposed to love and protect her.…

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Hard Work and Dedication

Hard Work and Dedication

Like every other high school, Dakota Memorial School typically holds graduation ceremonies at the end of May; and this year, we have students graduating on all three Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch campuses. Graduation is a big deal at the Ranch. Regardless of the number of graduates, we decorate the gym and celebrate in style for the benefit of our students and their families.…

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An Extra-Special Graduation Ceremony

An Extra-Special Graduation Ceremony

A couple weeks ago, three very proud young people were the stars of their high school graduation at Dakota Memorial School. That was kind of a funny time of year for a graduation. It also doesn't sound like a very large graduation class.…

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Midco Foundation Grants $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Midco Foundation Grants $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Midco Foundation awarded $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to underwrite the additional costs (created by the pandemic) of safely operating the Bismarck campus of Dakota Memorial School (DMS), the on-campus school of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. Specific costs include purchasing masks for the children, disinfecting, Personal Protective Equipment for the teachers, and individual devices for the kids. Keeping kids safe, while providing the best possible care, is a top priority at the Ranch.…

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Real-World Skills at Work: Preparing Young Adults for Adulthood

Real-World Skills at Work: Preparing Young Adults for Adulthood

Vocational Education began at the Minot campus many years ago with livestock, a corn crop, and honeybees. It has changed over the years to become Career and Technical Education, and now students learn and practice technicals skills like small engine repair, welding, carpentry, plumbing, facilities maintenance, and more.…

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Elmer & Kaya Berg Foundation Awards $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Elmer & Kaya Berg Foundation Awards $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Elmer & Kaya Berg Foundation awarded $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to purchase school supplies for the residential and Day School children on the Ranch’s Fargo campus.…

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Capital Electric Cooperative Grants $2,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Capital Electric Cooperative Grants $2,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Capital Electric Cooperative granted $2,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch toward the completion of a remodel of Dakota Memorial School—Bismarck, the on-campus school of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. Specifically, funds will be used to furnish and equip two classrooms that were created to increase the programming we offer and to better serve our current students.…

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Creating Space for Learning

Creating Space for Learning

School is so much more than a place to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic. In school, children learn how to work in teams, how to build relationships with their peers and adults, and how to manage their emotions and feelings when in a bustling and energy-filled environment. If kids in treatment can learn to operate within those environments, rather than isolated from them, they have a better chance of success when they leave treatment. School gives them a place to practice the new skills they are learning in a "normal" environment.…

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Sam’s Club—Bismarck Grants $1,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Sam’s Club—Bismarck Grants $1,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Sam’s Club—Bismarck granted $1,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to underwrite the cost of materials for the students at Dakota Memorial School. The granted funds, donated through Sam’s Club’s Community Grant Program, will be used to purchase textbooks and school supplies for the upcoming school year.…

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Cass County Electric Cooperative Grants $2,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Cass County Electric Cooperative Grants $2,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Cass County Electric Cooperative granted $2,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch toward the completion of an innovative remodel of Dakota Memorial School—Fargo, the on-campus school of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. Dakota Memorial School is a fully accredited school designed to provide best-in-class trauma-sensitive education for at-risk children. The population includes the children in our psychiatric residential treatment facilities, as well as Day Students from public schools in the surrounding area.…

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"The New Me"

"The New Me"

Anthony didn't plan to graduate from high school. For as long as he can remember, his plan was to drop out of school as soon as he reached the legal dropout age. Yet, he was one of six students to graduate from Dakota Memorial School (DMS) in May, and he gave a commencement speech during the ceremony. It was a proud moment for Anthony. "All the things I've been through, I never really thought I'd graduate," he said. Anthony's graduation was a dream come true for his parents an older brother. For Anthony, graduation was proof he can do and accomplish more than he even dared to dream.…

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Taking the Initiative

Taking the Initiative

The education our kids receive at Dakota Memorial School is an integral part of the services we offer, both to our kids in the residential program, as well as to our Day Students from the surrounding communities. The teachers who come to work each day to provide an education for our students are some of the most special people. We wanted to give them a space to share stories of their experiences in the classroom, so we are excited to present to you: Teacher's Corner.…

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Para Point Of View: Making Connections Through Art

Para Point Of View: Making Connections Through Art

The education our kids receive at Dakota Memorial School is an integral part of the services we offer, both to our kids in the residential program, as well as to our Day Students from the surrounding communities. The paraprofessionals (paras) in our schools are a critical component to the provision of exceptional special education services and support. They are an important aspect of the Trauma Learning Culture at Dakota Memorial School (DMS), as they model a positive and encouraging attitude. At DMS, paras help students learn academic and social skills, encourage positive behavior, and provide one-on-one instructional assistance to students under the supervision of a qualified teacher.…

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Creativity in the Classroom

Creativity in the Classroom

The education our kids receive at Dakota Memorial School is an integral part of the services we offer, both to our kids in the residential program, as well as to our Day Students from the surrounding communities. The teachers who come to work each day to provide an education for our students are some of the most special people. We wanted to give them a space to share stories of their experiences in the classroom, so we are excited to present to you: Teacher's Corner.…

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Para Point Of View

Para Point Of View

The education our kids receive at Dakota Memorial School is an integral part of the services we offer, both to our kids in the residential program, as well as to our Day Students from the surrounding communities. The paraprofessionals (paras) in our schools are a critical component to the provision of exceptional special education services and support. They are an important aspect of the Trauma Learning Culture at Dakota Memorial School (DMS), as they model a positive and encouraging attitude. At DMS, paras help students learn academic and social skills, encourage positive behavior, and provide one-on-one instructional assistance to students under the supervision of a qualified teacher.…

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More Capable than He'd Been Led to Believe

More Capable than He'd Been Led to Believe

The education our kids receive at Dakota Memorial School is an integral part of the services we offer, both to our kids in the residential program, as well as to our Day Students from the surrounding communities. The teachers who come to work each day to provide an education for our students are some of the most special people. We wanted to give them a space to share stories of their experiences in the classroom, so we are excited to present to you: Teacher's Corner.…

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Lifting Kids Up With Art

Lifting Kids Up With Art

Alana Wilhelm, art teacher at Dakota Memorial School, uses the power of art to inspire and heal children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. Many Ranch kids are able to express their perspective, ideas, and feelings through visual metaphors and concepts in color, shape, and line--even when they are unable to express those feelings in words.…

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Dueling Dragons and Discovered Truths

Dueling Dragons and Discovered Truths

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, Dakota Memorial School students picked up their pens and began writing stories of magnificent creations. Students wrote about dragons, sword fights, puppies, and big cities. They also wrote about their experiences surviving years of trauma, neglect, and abuse.…

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"I Can Do It!"

"I Can Do It!"

Our on-campus school district, Dakota Memorial School (DMS), is a remarkable place. Teachers at DMS use trauma-sensitive approaches to learning in balanced learning environment classrooms. What does that mean? It means we understand that for most Ranch kids, school has been a place of failure. To survive amidst chaos and traumatic experiences most of us can't even imagine, they developed "undesirable" behaviors that make it hard to learn.…

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Classrooms Come Alive

Classrooms Come Alive

Cher Baggett's classroom was a barnyard...literally. Hay, pine chips, heat lamps, and chickens. On the other side of Dakota Memorial School (DMS), the on-campus school of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, high school students were learning the math and science behind boat design and flotation, and ultimately, building a wooden boat!…

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Trauma-Sensitive Classrooms: Through the Eyes of the Teachers Who Create Safe Spaces for Kids to Learn

Trauma-Sensitive Classrooms: Through the Eyes of the Teachers Who Create Safe Spaces for Kids to Learn

We've been talking about trauma-informed care and trauma-sensitive classrooms for a long time at the Ranch. But, for me at least, it's been difficult to grasp what exactly that means, and how to explain it. When I interviewed the teachers featured in this article, I saw very clearly that trauma-sensitivity is much more than talk and some cool furniture. Dakota Memorial School (DMS) teachers are trauma-sensitive from the tops of their heads to the very tips of their toes.…

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Seeing Through a Different Lens

Seeing Through a Different Lens

When Adam, a Dakota Memorial School (DMS) day student, took his first art class a couple of years ago, he fell in love with photography.…

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A Tale of Two Graduates

A Tale of Two Graduates

Shawn and Maddie share their inspiring stories--how they came to the Ranch, the barriers that got in their way, their ultimate success, and their plans. Read their stories of courage and perseverance.…

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Responding to Trauma in the Classroom

Responding to Trauma in the Classroom

I’ve always known “Trauma-Sensitive Classroom” was an important concept in education, but I wasn’t exactly sure what it looked like in my lesson plans or day-to-day interactions with students. I’m going into the teaching field, and I consider myself a nice person—that should be enough to indicate that I’m considerate to students and their trauma, right? Wrong. My assumptions of what it means to react to student behaviors in a trauma-sensitive manner were way off base.…

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