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Northern Cass School District

For a long time, the towns of Argusville, Arthur, Gardner, Grandin, and Hunter all had their own schools. However, in the 90s, the districts wanted to consolidate. It is possible that this desire came from the country’s new focus on outcome-based education, causing people to want consistency in the classroom. So, throughout the 1995-96 school year, the Cass Valley North and Dakota school district board started developing a plan to restructure the many towns’ school systems. 

Rather than having scattered schools, they decided to consolidate in a single new building involving 80 acres. Both boards approved the plan during the summer of 1996. It seems that many townspeople also longed for the change, for on this date in 1996, almost 80% of voters approved reorganization – a three-phase plan that would be completed by the year 2000.

The first phase kept the students separated with K-6 in Grandin and Hunter, grades 7-9 in Argusville, with the older students in Arthur. The second phase closed the Argusville site and merged grades 7-12 in Arthur. The third and final phase merged all the grades into the new building at a central location by Cass County 26. Although all this shuffling was tiresome and confusing, everyone from students to administrators knew the end goal was worth the hectic journey … culminating in Northern Cass School District #97.

However, this district’s journey did not stop there. Northern Cass continues to reform and reorganize. Very recently they announced a plan to abolish grade levels by 2020 and have students plot their own academic course. The fact that these towns consolidated the students into one building means they can truly enact this transition throughout all levels. It is quite possible that the board and voters’ decision back in 1996 planted the seeds for this school district to be a launching site for this fascinating education reform.

Dakota Datebook written by Lucid Thomas


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