A local agency is looking for students and families to help in Dunn County.
Its mission is to help the families find students who may need help and then help them get the assistance they need.
West River Student Services Unit in Dickinson has joined 14 school districts to help support Child Find Week in November.
Child Find was established through the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act to help identify infants and children with delays in growth and development.
“We cover the area of Killdeer and Dunn County,” said regional director Pamela Aman. “It is our goal to provide services as soon as possible.
“Our main goal is to catch the children early,” she explained. “It is an identification process. Referrals can come from a multitude of areas – parents, schools and others.”
The office and the people who staff it cover 14 school districts in western North Dakota.
A contact can be made in Dunn County through the Killdeer School District or through the agencies Dickinson office, Aman said.
The agency tries to catch the students from pre-school level all the way into the secondary (high school) levels. The identification can come from the parents or different agencies that work with children. They (referrals) can come from a multitude of areas,” she said.
“The other agencies contact us. It can be a pediatrician who is having some concerns,” she added.
Kelly Koppinger, the superintendent of New England Public School, is also the vice chairman of the board at West River Student Services.
“There is currently 14 schools in the area of southwest North Dakota that use West River Student Services. With the influx of people that we are seeing … and the oil in the area, we have seen the student enrollment in those service areas jump dramatically too. Most of the categories that we serve at West River have dramatically in the past 10 years. There is a big influx of people coming to southwest North Dakota,” he said.
The growth is having a big impact at New England. “We have gone from about 148 students in 2008 to around 301 students,” the superintendent said. “We have more than doubled in size in the last nine or 10 years. I guessing most of the schools in our area have seen that growth as well.
I know Killdeer is part of our organization as well and they are experiencing pretty rapid growth. They have increased their enrollment up there over the last couple of years
“With that growth comes the increasing number of students who need our services as well,” Koppinger added.