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Lifelong Learning


About Our K-12 Instructional Program

In Moorhead Area Public Schools, we believe all children will learn and develop to the best of their abilities. When students finish their education they will be knowledgeable and proficient in traditional basic academic skills, as well as effective communicators, decision makers and users of technology.

The district's instructional program offers curriculum that establishes the knowledge and skills to be taught in each subject at each grade level and develops benchmarks and objectives to assure student achievement and progress.

All of our students receive instruction in the core curriculum areas of literacy, mathematics, science and social studies. In addition, students are taught to think creatively, solve problems and work collaboratively. These are just some of the 21st century learning skills integrated in our teaching that are essential for students to develop their maximum potential.

Elementary Schools

Elementary curriculum focuses on providing children with skills needed to read, communicate, solve math problems, use technology and apply this knowledge to everyday situations. Students experience one-on-one, small-group and whole class learning opportunities with teachers who know their students' needs. Specialists provide instruction in art, music, physical education, media and technology to further enrich the curriculum.

Our elementary schools operate on a system of cycle days. A cycle schedule differs from a weekly schedule in that each day school is in session is numbered from one to five or one to six. The system is used to schedule classes such as art, physical education, music, health, technology, etc. so students receive consistent programming.

As a result of this schedule, our classroom teachers and specialists are able to:

  • Provide equitable and enriched learning experiences for all students;
  • Have protected teaching time during core instruction with the goal of a minimum of 90 minutes of reading instruction and a minimum of 30 minutes of writing instruction daily;
  • Provide intervention or enrichment according to individual needs;
  • Address students' varying learning styles with small groups; and
  • Have regular opportunities for classroom teachers to meet during the day and without the use of substitute teachers to review students' reading and math data and plan corresponding instruction.

Read the elementary planning and registration guide for K-4 course descriptions or review specific grade-level curriculum in the following guides:

Middle School

Moorhead Area Public Schools serves students in grades 5-8 in a middle school setting at the Horizon Middle School Campus. Students attend core classes in grade-level teams. Each team has its own space (referred to as houses) with core classrooms, common areas and team offices. This “school-within-a-school” design provides a more personalized education for students and meets the needs of middle-level students as they transition from one education level to the next.

The schedule for fifth- and sixth-grade students at Horizon Middle School West Campus includes literacy, social studies, math, science and advisory connections. On a four-day rotating schedule students have physical education/health, music and art. Additionally, students have the opportunity to take band or orchestra beginning in grade 5 and choir beginning in grade 6. The Spanish Immersion Program for grades K-6 is integrated into grades 5 and 6 with multi-age classes for students who are continuing the program from Ellen Hopkins Elementary School. Read the Horizon Middle School West Campus planning and registration guide for course descriptions and information about programs and student support, or review specific grade-level curriculum in the following guides:

Besides taking core classes in mathematics, science, social studies and language arts, Horizon Middle School East Campus students take exploratory classes in art, world language (Spanish and Mandarin Chinese), health and theatre arts. At each grade level, Horizon East students take a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) exploratory class that is part of Project Lead the Way. Students have physical education every other day alternating with their choice of a music class (band, choir or orchestra) or an individual learning time. Read the Horizon Middle School East Campus planning and registration guide for course descriptions and information about early college options, high school and post high planning, and student support.

High School

Moorhead Area Public Schools is home to Moorhead High School, a comprehensive high school serving grades 9-12. Secondary education allows students to become involved in a wide range of curricular and extracurricular classes and activities. Curriculum is designed to assist high school students in gaining the necessary skills to meet Minnesota's graduation standards. Activities, including arts, academic, special interest or athletic groups, allow students to continue learning outside the classroom.

A major goal of the high school curriculum is to prepare students for post-secondary educational options or to enter the workforce. The district delivers coursework to students through a variety of teaching methods that lay a foundation for community, vocational or traditional college, military service, apprenticeships or other training.

The district high school curriculum focuses on the core areas of English, mathematics, science and social studies, but also requires classes in art, physical education and health. Moorhead High School has a modified block schedule. The schedule, which combines 45-minute and 90-minute periods, accommodates student options for elective courses. Elective courses include world language (Spanish and Mandarin Chinese), business, industrial technology, journalism, family and consumer science, arts, band, choir and orchestra classes. Sophomores, juniors and seniors also have the opportunity to take an extensive selection of Advanced Placement courses or courses at the local colleges through post-secondary enrollment options (PSEO). Read the Moorhead High planning and registration guide for course descriptions and information about early college options, high school and post high planning, and student support.

Post-Secondary Enrollment Options

Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) is a program that allows 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students to earn both high school and college credit while still in high school, through enrollment in and successful completion of college nonsectarian courses at eligible participating postsecondary institutions. Most PSEO courses are offered on the campus of the postsecondary institution; some courses are offered online. Each participating college or university sets its own admissions requirements for enrollment into the PSEO courses. Eleventh and 12th-grade students may take PSEO courses on a full- or part-time basis; 10th graders are eligible to enroll in PSEO on a more limited basis (see note below). Students must meet the PSEO residency and eligibility requirements and abide by participation limits specified in Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.09. If a school district determines a pupil is not on track to graduate, she/he may continue to participate in PSEO on a term by term basis.

By March 1 of each year, or three weeks prior to the date a student registers for courses for the following school year (whichever is earlier), schools must provide PSEO information to all students in grades 8-11 and their families. To assist the district in planning, a student must inform the district by May 30 of each year of their intent to enroll in postsecondary courses during the following school year.

There is no charge to PSEO students for tuition, books or fees for items that are required to participate in a course; however, students may incur fees for equipment that becomes their property when the course or program is completed, textbooks that are not returned to the postsecondary institution according to their policies, or for tuition costs if they do not notify the district by May 30 and the district does not waive this date requirement.

Funds are available to help pay transportation expenses for qualifying students to participate in PSEO courses on college campuses. For more information on these funds, access the PSEO Mileage Reimbursement Program Instructions.

Enrolling in a PSEO course does not prohibit a student from participating in activities sponsored by the high school.

School districts must allow a PSEO student reasonable access to the high school building, computers and/or other technology resources during regular school hours to participate in PSEO courses, whether on-line or on campus.

Each year, districts must publish their grade-weighting policy on their website, including a list of courses for which students can earn weighted grades.

All courses taken through the PSEO program must meet graduation requirements. Districts must transcript credits earned in PSEO by a ratio prescribed in statute. Districts have the authority to decide which subject area and standards the PSEO course meets. If there is a dispute between the district and the student regarding the number of credits granted for a particular course, the student may appeal the board's decision to the commissioner. The commissioner's decision regarding the number of credits will be final.

Postsecondary institutions are required to allow PSEO students to enroll in online courses consistent with the institution’s policy regarding postsecondary student enrollment in online courses.

Tenth-grade students may initially enroll in one Career and Technical Education (CTE) PSEO course if they receive a reading proficiency score of “meets” or “exceeds” on the 8th grade MCA. If 10th graders taking a CTE PSEO course earn at least a grade C in that class, they may take additional postsecondary courses. If the student did not take the MCA in 8th-grade, another reading assessment accepted by the enrolling postsecondary institution can be substituted. For students with disabilities, there is an alternative option to demonstrate reading proficiency.

For current information about the PSEO program, visit the Minnesota Department of Education’s Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) webpage.

Requirements for Graduation

The number of credits required for high school graduation is 26. (Registration guidelines list 29 credits.) The district requires:

  • 4 credits of language arts
  • 3 credits of mathematics, encompassing at least algebra, geometry, and statistics and probability sufficient to satisfy the academic standard. Students must satisfactorily complete an algebra 1 credit by the end of grade 8 and must satisfactorily complete an algebra II credit or its equivalent.
  • 3 credits of science, including at least one credit in biology and chemistry or physics.
  • 3.5 credits of social studies, encompassing at least United States history, geography, government and citizenship, world history and economics
  • 1 credit of art
  • 1 credit of physical education
  • .5 credit of wellness
  • .5 credit of Grade 9 Explore Class
  • Minimum of 9.5 credits of electives

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