Residents Experience Academic Excellence in Williston, ND

Williston offers residents excellent academic options.

By
Kevin Litwin
On Wednesday, April 21, 2021 - 13:54
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Students in Williston have many high-quality education options and state-of-the-art facilities, from K-12 to higher education. And the region continues to make improvements to ensure students are equipped with the best.

The region is home to a fine collection of private and public schools. Area private schools include Trinity Christian School, which serves grades K-12, and St. Joseph's Catholic School, which serves grades K- 6. 

As far as public schools, Williston's two public school systems Williams County School District 8, which includes two elementary schools and a grades three-eight school called Missouri Ridge, and Williston Public School (WPS) District 1, which consists of six elementary schools, a middle school, a high school and an alternative school, recently merged to become Williston Basin School District 7. Restructuring plans are in the works to create a new district board and policies and hire new staff, among other things.

Before the merger, WPS District 1 opened a new ASB Innovation Academy in September 2020 and welcomed 260 students in grades five through seven. Officials plan to add an eighth-grade class in August 2021.

"This new academy is very student-centered, with the kids really active and engaged in innovative classroom projects," says Wyndy McGinley, director of ASB Innovation Academy. "Before our launch, several of us from the school district visited similar schools in Missouri, California and Kentucky to find out more about student-centered learning and project-based learning. We have implemented the best practices at our new school."

"This new academy is very student-centered, with the kids really active and engaged in innovative classroom projects."

Wyndy McGinley/ASB Innovation Academy

ASB Innovation Academy features amenities such as a large commons area with TV screens, flexible seating, a science room and a study room. Students have access to 3D printers and a robotics lab. The $6.2 million school was funded by the city, private donors, families and businesses. American State Bank & Trust Co. (ASB) donated the largest amount — $500,000 — giving it the naming rights to ASB Innovation Academy.

"Every spring when parents throughout Williston enroll their children in the district, they can also say if they are interested in having their kids attend the academy," McGinley says. "We then run a lottery to see what students are accepted. The academy is an exciting place for students to work with one another and learn about real-world situations and opportunities."

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Kellie Rochelle Photography

Scholarships for All Grads

Quality academics are also a given at Williston State College (WSC), a two-year school that offers associate degrees in the arts, sciences and applied sciences. In addition, WSC has one- and two-year technical programs in areas such as agriculture, nursing, IT, petroleum and welding.

The college recently introduced a Regional County Scholarship to assist high school graduates in 10 North Dakota and Montana counties who might want to attend WSC.

Overseeing the scholarship program is the Williston State College Foundation.

"We've been fortunate to have past donors who left gifts to the foundation many years ago, and over time, that money has exploded in value," says Hunter Berg, Williston State College Foundation executive director. "Up to now, most of the scholarships were focused toward high school graduates in Williams County as well as some in nearby McKenzie County, but now, we are including many more North Dakota and Montana students throughout our region."

Berg says the foundation awards several different tuition/fee scholarships, and students don't necessarily need to have high grades.

"Every student goes through a simple application process and then connects with our financial aid department to figure what kind of particular scholarship is available for each individual," he says. "It's a great program."

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Steve Woit/Williston State College

Two Years Fully Paid

One student who benefited from the program is Jordan Kulczyk, who graduated from Glasgow High School in Montana. While she wasn't sure if she wanted to attend college immediately, she toured Williams State College while in high school and was informed about the scholarship.

"I got all my tuition and fees paid during the two years I attended WSC, so that was a big financial burden taken off my shoulders and a key reason why I enrolled," Kulczyk says.

Kulczyk completed her coursework at WSC and now attends Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Carolina, studying social psychology and sports management.

"I'm obviously very appreciative to Williams State College for getting me started," she says. "It was great to get my two years of general courses paid for before transferring to Presentation College to now pursue my bachelor's degree."

If you'd like to learn more about the Williston, ND area, check out the latest edition of Livability Williston, ND.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.