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Jessica Magnuson is a middle school literacy coach at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School in Fargo, North Dakota. Prior to this position, she was a sixth grade science, language arts, and advisory teacher for 15 years. During two of those years, she also taught a section of sixth grade social studies. Jessica earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Minnesota State University Moorhead (2004) and a Master’s degree in Teaching with Technology from Valley City State University (2009). She later earned a Middle Level Endorsement from North Dakota State University. She was recently named the 2021 Fargo Public Schools Teacher of the Year. Jessica understands the power of literacy and collaboration. As a literacy coach, she works with teachers to implement effective engagement and literacy strategies in all content areas. Jessica believes in the ability of all students to learn at high levels. She is passionate about educating young adolescents in a way that makes learning interdisciplinary, challenging, exploratory, and relevant. As a sixth grade teacher, Jessica implemented many different project based opportunities for students to learn about Giving Hearts Day and their role as helpers in the community.
Jazmyne Reinke is an English Language Arts and English Learners teacher at Davies High School in Fargo, ND. She also advises the journalism courses and student newspaper in addition to advising for the Pride Club/GSA for her high school. She enjoys seeing her students grow throughout their time in school, and she believes every student has a cause they want to speak up for. She designed the Giving Hearts Day Project based on a previous unit she taught in her English I course. From the original unit, she saw first-hand how student voice and choice led to increased engagement in her classroom while still assessing key skills. She hopes you find the same passion within your students and that this mini-unit offers authentic growth and opportunity for your community of learners.
Jenny Olson – Parent
When Jenny Olson hosted 45 students in her child’s first grade class on Giving Hearts Day last year, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Here’s what she had to say about how the students, teachers and administrators, and parents felt about it.
“I was blown away by how eight- and nine-year-olds immediately thought beyond themselves. They didn’t choose to give to the local sports teams they may be a part of. They chose to give to causes that represented people they knew with a real need. Several kids, without hesitation, immediately chose to direct their dollars to Gigi’s Playhouse, because one of their classmate buddies has Down syndrome. To see them so easily and quickly take that opportunity to celebrate, lift up, and embrace their classmate was touching.”
Evelyn Kieffer – Student
Evelyn’s school, Aurora Elementary in West Fargo, participated in the Kindness Bingo Challenge and she won a $10 gift card which she donated to Cats Cradle Shelter in Fargo.
“The bingo game was so fun and I was so excited to get to give to those sweet kitties that don’t have a home. It made me feel like I was helping the world.”
Carl Ben Eielson Middle School – Teachers
Jessica Magnuson and Tara Shilling developed a project based learning (PBL) activity for their sixth graders at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School. The students worked in collaborative teams to research the makeup of our community and created a plan to raise awareness and support for a nonprofit of their choice.
“One student stood up and said, ‘Actually, we are all winners here because so much money is going to help nonprofits around the area just because we did this project!’” Jessica recalls. “It was so great to see the students not only supporting the community, but each other as well.”