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Location: Ellendale, ND

Grades: K-12

Enrollment: 325

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There are many programs that aim to holistically empower students. However, schools like Ellendale Public School often find that accessing those programs is fraught with challenges, especially when trying to find time for staff to coordinate the programs with the school. Further, rural schools face another challenge in accessing resources: location. Getting to a doctor’s appointment or going on a field trip to an art museum becomes much harder (and more expensive) when the school is distanced from large towns and cities.

That’s where NDFSCS Site Coordinators like Valerie Jordan come in. They help bridge the gap between their school and the resources available to students. By working in tandem with the school staff, Site Coordinators can keep students in school by helping the school care for them as a whole person. For Jordan, much of her work comes down to seeing what’s missing.

“It’s about finding the voids we have. I ask how I can step in and bridge that gap,” Jordan said.

A Full-Service Community School provides resources that keep the students in the school building rather than focusing on their academic well-performance alone. Programs like the BackPack Program address food insecurity, while Avel eCare equips schools with school nurses via telehealth. There are even partnerships with organizations, such as Nexus-PATH, that help schools access social services and individualized support for students and their families. In short, North Dakota Full-Service Community Schools help to lift their communities up by uplifting their students.

What’s more, thanks to the work that schools like Ellendale Public School have put in, new schools joining the Consortium aren’t left alone to figure out how to make the new model work. They can learn from schools and Site Coordinators who have successfully made the transition–and have seen it work. The Consortium serves to connect the Full-Service Community Schools to each other, just like a Full-Service School connects its students to the larger community and vice-versa.

Students and families are not the only ones benefiting from Ellendale’s transformation into a Full-Service Community School. With the additional capacity of a Site Coordinator (and everything Jordan brings with her), staff have regained the time and energy to focus on meeting the needs of their students and growing as professionals.

In short, becoming a Full-Service Community School has improved the community by engaging students and families outside of the classroom. Cindy Rall, middle and high school principal at Ellendale, is happy to see the change.

“The connection to the community has gotten way better. There was a push for people to connect the community to the classrooms, but it wasn’t sustainable to do regularly,” Rall said.

Keeping students and the community working together drives community longevity, as Rall illustrates: “The students who are connected grow roots and stay. The community continues to thrive.”

Full-Service Community Schools work in tandem with the community. Because the model is focused on the whole student, more students can access resources without barriers.

Elendale’s elementary school principal, Allison Radermacher, is especially excited about how Ellendale Public Schools can empower everyone as a ND Full-Service Community School, not just a few.

“We have programs that serve all kids,” Radermacher explained. “It could be my kid or kids who come in and are just hungry that day or had a bad morning.”

“The good thing about education is that every day matters,” Jordan continued. “The hard thing is that every day matters. With a Full-Service school, you feel the results of what we do when you see a student who needs an advocate succeed.”


We are an organization of educators, health professionals, and parents. Above all, we are a group of people passionate about helping students and schools succeed.


We partner with local leaders to coordinate comprehensive supports in areas such as wellness, workforce readiness, and academic enrichment to help students and families thrive.


Students cannot learn when their basic needs are not being met, but not all schools have the resources to meet these needs. With NDFSCS, schools don’t have to navigate these challenges alone.