• Transportation Changes at Ely Elementary

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 10/25/2023

    Hello from Ely Elementary! Starting Monday, October 30, 2023, please note important changes to our traffic patterns:

    • Entry/exit is now on the school’s west side.
    • Use 2nd Street SW for the drop-off loop.
    • Buses will load and unload on 3rd Street SW and in the bus loop.

    See the image below for details. Thank you!


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  • Flu Shot Clinics

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 9/26/2023
    Flu Shot Clinics:
    October 3rd at Ely from 9a-4p
    October 10th at RHS from 1-4p
    Consent forms are available at the school offices or at this link 
    Return signed consent forms to school offices. Only students with a signed consent will be given a flu shot. Questions? Call Samantha Wentz, School Nurse, at 776-5757.
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  • Rugby High School Named as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2023

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 9/19/2023

    Rugby High School Named as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2023

    Rugby Public School District #5 received notification that we obtained Exemplary High-Performing School recognition by the United States Department of Education. State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler nominated the district after we met the criteria. This includes performance of our students on state assessments in reading (or English language arts) and mathematics. It also includes student growth on state assessments, performance in other subjects on state assessments, graduation rates, or other indicators in the state’s accountability system. RPSD completed an application highlighting our district practices and was eventually selected as a National Blue Ribbon School, which is the nation’s highest honor for schools.

    Today at 1:00 pm, U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardova, will recognize 353 schools across the country as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2023. Rugby High School will be one of the schools. Here is an excerpt from the NBRS Press Release:

    “While awardee schools represent the diverse fabric of American schools, they also share some core elements. National Blue Ribbon School leaders articulate a vision of excellence and hold everyone to high standards. They demonstrate effective and innovative teaching and learning, and the schools value and support teachers and staff through meaningful professional learning. Data from many sources are used to drive instruction and every student strives for success. Families, communities, and educators work together toward common goals.

    National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models of effective and innovative school practices for state and district educators and other schools throughout the nation. A National Blue Ribbon School flag gracing a school’s entryway or on a flagpole is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.”

    There are very few opportunities to showcase the impressive efforts of our educators, support staff, and learners within our schools. We are honored to be chosen for this award, and it is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our educators. RPSD was selected for our academic performance, but within our application, we chose to highlight our work on improving the social and emotional well-being of our learners. 

    Our district’s mission statement is, “To cultivate relationships and to promote academic growth of every student every day.” Over the past decade, the district has been intentional about developing relationships with students and their families, while removing barriers to access mental health services in their rural community. This includes creating a grassroots mentorship program, where every student has a trusted relationship with an adult in the school. Resources have been realigned to provide therapy options in a community that lacks them due to the distance to an urban area. We believe that this focus on the whole child has played a role in improving student outcomes. Through these programs, student absenteeism and suspensions have decreased, while student grades and test scores have improved. Students have also reported feeling more connected to their school and their community. Rugby School District is committed to continuing to focus on the social and emotional well-being of its students and believes that this is essential for their success in school and in life.

    The Rugby Early Learning Center, Ely Elementary, Little Flower School, and Rugby High School do a tremendous job preparing our learners for academic success while supporting their social and emotional well-being.

    This award includes a ceremony at Washington D.C. on November 16-17 and will include representatives from our school district. We will plan a local celebration to officially recognize the efforts of our educators. Congratulations to our school community on becoming a National Blue Ribbon School for 2023!


    Dr. Michael McNeff

    Superintendent of Schools 

    Go Panthers!


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  • Remote Learning Day Tomorrow (April 5, 2023)

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 4/4/2023


    We recently completed our guidelines for remote learning for inclement weather and you can review them here. Around 73% of the 239 respondents favored a remote learning day in the recent survey sent out to stakeholders. Due to the weather forecast, we will implement this plan tomorrow (April 5, 2023). Today, teachers will be sharing contact information for office hours (11AM - 1PM) to assist students and preparing students for their educational plan. Students will need to complete their assignments by the time designated by the teacher to be marked present for the remote learning day. Most students in grades K-1 will receive packets and most students in grades 2-12 will receive their assignments through Google Classroom. Devices will be sent home today, please ensure they return next Tuesday. If you have further questions, please contact your child's teacher or your child's school. 



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  • Final Virtual Learning Plan

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 3/28/2023


    The Virtual Learning Committee met yesterday to review feedback from the virtual learning survey. We had a total of 239 responses from parents, students, and staff. 73% of respondents supported the plan and a few adjustments were made to the final plan. You can view the entire plan below.

    • I want to reiterate that virtual learning will be used as a last resort and will not be the first mechanism used to deal with winter weather. 
    • Stakeholders will be notified the day before the forecasted storm day to ensure students are prepared for a declared virtual learning day. A final decision will be made the following morning in case of a shift in the forecast. 

    Link: Final Virtual Learning Plan 

    Thanks, and if you have questions please contact your child's school. 

    Mike McNeff, Supt.

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  • Virtual Learning for Inclement Weather Guidelines

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 3/17/2023


    The Virtual Learning for Inclement Weather Committee met yesterday and developed a draft plan. I want to be clear that virtual learning will be a last resort option, as I think it presents all sorts of issues and I don't believe it is a great educational option for all stakeholders. With that said, please carefully review the plan and complete the survey by next Wednesday. 

    Here is the timeline for plan development: 

    • March 16th Committee Meeting - develop draft plan
    • March 17 - March 22 - gather feedback on plan from staff, parents, and students
    • March 27th Committee Meeting - Review feedback, adjust plan, and create final plan
    • March 28 - March 31st - Communicate final plan to stakeholders 
    • April 1st - Implement plan if needed

    Link to survey: https://forms.gle/rX8u8YeTiUfy2gdz6



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  • Membean

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 2/10/2023


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  • High School Intervention

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 2/6/2023


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  • Inclement Weather

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 12/16/2022

    Historical Context

    There used to be a process in the 80s and 90s when the Governor would simply forgive snow days related to large storm systems that impacted a large part of the state. Over time, NDCC codified a specific number of student contact days.

    Prior to 2019, all schools were required to have 175 days and a required number of hours (962.5 for elementary and 1,050 for high school). The Days to Hours legislation passed in 2019 removed the day requirement and provided schools with additional flexibility with professional development and storm day makeup. The legislative intent was never to drop to the minimum number of hours for school districts.

    Within our current schedule, we are 75.5 hours over the state requirement for elementary schools and 117.75 over the state requirement for high schools. This provides a great deal of flexibility to provide professional learning, teacher collaboration, and work around inclement weather.

    Make Up or Forgive Time

    School districts in ND have a few options to consider when inclement weather causes a closure, delay or early release. These include storm days, virtual learning, or considering forgiveness.

    The legislative intent was to continue to stay near 175 days, either for instructional time or for staff development, the district continues to add 2 storm days within the school calendar.

    Prior to 2019, if districts were 30 minutes longer than the state requirements, they were provided 1 grace day for weather events. Many schools like Rugby, met this requirement and were forgiven this one day, or the equivalent number of hours. We continue to take a grace day and do not make up the first weather event. For anything beyond the first weather event, we will use our 2 scheduled storm days. In extreme winters when there are multiple cancellations the district may use other days or strategies to make up student contact time.

    What about Virtual Learning?

    Other schools utilize the new law that allows for virtual learning days. In Rugby, I am not yet an advocate for virtual learning as there are a number of factors that make that problematic and can create educational equity gaps. For example, while we are 1:1 in terms of technology access, this does not mean the district-issued technology will be home on a storm day as some choose to leave the equipment at school and our youngest students are required to keep it at school. Also, not all of our students have connectivity available at home or educational support. The general suddenness of inclement weather days could put a planning burden on staff or the virtual learning lessons simply become busy work for the students and parents. 

    What is the plan for the missed school days this week?

    Due to our cancellation on December 14th we missed 4 instructional hours due to the scheduled early out. Our cancellation on December 15th and December 16th will add 12 additional instructional hours. In total, we have 16 missed instructional hours at this point.

    Total Hours to Makeup                      16 hours

    Grace Day                                          - 6 hours

    Increase to Full Day on 12/22            - 2 hours

    Storm Makeup Day on 3/17               - 6 hours 


    Remaining Hours                                2 hours (We will monitor this time for now)


    ~ Mike McNeff, Supt.

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  • What is a PLC?

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 12/2/2022


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