A FEW ISSUES AROUND THE DISTRICT
Although January and February are often considered to be the most challenging parts of a school year—with cold, winter weather, short times of daylight, transitions from the first half to second half of the year, beginning of planning for the next year, and many other issues—they are also some of the busiest!
Winter activities are fully underway and working toward the conclusion of the seasons. Some elements of testing unfold during this time. At the secondary level, conferences occur in the middle of the year. Offices begin planning for a new year of school with registration, updates to budgets, enrollment planning and projections, development of courses and schedules for the final stretch and the new school year, and other activity.
With all the different things happening, I would like to focus on a few issues unfolding in the next few weeks.
LOVE OF READING
February is recognized in most school districts as “I Love to Read Month.” Although reading is an important task throughout our work, at the elementary level in particular, we like to take some extra time to celebrate the idea of reading. We especially like to focus on the idea of reading for pleasure!
Many of our elementary classrooms will place special emphasis on reading in February. Guests are often invited to the classroom to share a favorite book or reading with students. The guests may be parents, leaders in the community, grandparents who want to share, school district leaders and employees, or other guests who are “important” to students. Books that provide entertainment, imagination and fun are featured throughout the month.
As we go through the month, I sometimes have opportunity (personally) to go to classrooms and read. Depending on the grade level, I will take books that have been important to me as I grew up. For younger students, I especially like to use Dr. Seuss books with my favorites being The Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham. For some of the older elementary classrooms, I like to use some of the books that fascinated me when I was about that age—especially a set of small history books given to me by my grandmother dating from the early 1900s.
If you love to read and want to share with our students, please contact our elementary schools or a favorite classroom teacher! It is a great experience to share a love of reading with students!
PLANNING AND REGISTRATION PROCESSES
The work related to next year’s scheduling and registration is under way. From early childhood to kindergarten to the senior high, we have discussions and planning in progress. Changes in schedule, class options, curriculum, and other elements related to our instructional program are being proposed, considered, and examined.
At the District Education Facility, conversations are going on about programs and opportunities. The Early Childhood programs have implemented some new programs this year, including the wrap-around care program, and staff members are looking at ways to strengthen the work that is done at the site. Registration for next year’s programs will also unfold in the near future. Watch for specific announcements through the Early Childhood and Community Education programs.
At the other levels of the district, core standards, instructional approaches, resources needed for classes, locations and schedules for classes and other elements of program are being reviewed. While the program review is happening, steps related to student registration are also taking place.
The elementary principals are working to have information for kindergarten registration available very soon. Our kindergarten roundup is scheduled for Tuesday, February 27. Information will be provided to parents of next year’s kindergarten students to help them understand the program, to register students within the school system, and to prepare for the start of the school year.
At the secondary level, we have discussions about revisions to particular classes, examination of new programs or approaches to course options, and work on instructional processes in progress. Much of the registration process for secondary students will unfold over the next month.
All of the information is important to us in regard to staffing and assignments for the next year. Registration numbers often help determine the amount of staff required to deliver our educational programs.
With the community approval of the technology referendum in the fall, leaders in this area have been investing time, energy, thought and conversation about the ways to move forward improvements in our technology program. There are a variety of elements being reviewed to enhance our technology opportunities.
During the past few years, we have been able to strengthen our district-wide wireless “backbone” through district resources and the federal e-rate program. Even so, we still have things we can do to support extension of the wireless system and continue to improve accessibility.
In addition, the replacement cycles on many parts of technology are being reexamined and designed to move us into a more consistent replacement process based on industry standards. Website and social media improvements are being examined as well as the technology opportunities available to students to continue to help them be ready once students graduate from ROCORI.
This past week, across the state of Minnesota, was recognized by Governor Dayton as Paraprofessional Recognition Week. It is a great time and opportunity to thank the staff members who directly support students and classrooms.
Paraprofessionals, here and in other districts, have challenging and demanding roles supporting students. The duties and expectations are wide-ranging, but often require working directly with students who have academic, behavioral, emotional, and other disabilities. Many require the paraprofessionals to work side-by-side with the student to maintain focus, attention or direction.
Paraprofessionals are an important part of supporting students and helping them to achieve success. Thank you for the work you do to assist ROCORI students.
As always, there are a lot of things happening across the ROCORI District. I have highlighted a few, but there are many things that unfold on virtually every day of school. From the regular classroom to special events to improvements being implemented, we have a lot of great things happening in the ROCORI Schools!