There are a lot of things happening across the district.  Although individual buildings share a great deal of news and information, I thought I would take some time this week to highlight a number of issues in quick fashion!



Eric Skanson, Principal of Cold Spring Elementary School has been elected by his peers to serve in a leadership role at the Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association (MESPA).  Eric recently received news that he will begin a three-year term as President-Elect, President, and Past President with MESPA!

MESPA is considered the “voice” for elementary school leadership.  It is an organization of principals across the state of Minnesota.  The organization seeks to support principals in a number of ways and provide leadership for the work of elementary schools and administrators.

Eric was elected through a statewide voting process among the members of the organization.  Through his term, he will be asked to represent elementary principals, and the ROCORI Schools, on a number of issues and at a number of events.   It is an honor to be chosen by peers to this leadership role!  Congratulations, Eric, on this leadership role!



Last year was an experimental year for the program, but based on the results and information gathered in 2015-2016, the district unfolded a breakfast program at the secondary site.  The breakfast opportunity is free to the students who participate.

There are two time periods during the day at which students may secure a breakfast meal.  The first is as students arrive at school, and prior to their actual school day.  The next opportunity is called the “second-chance” breakfast and happens during the passing time between the first two class periods of the school day.

The meal is a quick breakfast that meets federal nutritional guidelines, but can be handled essentially on a “grab and go” basis!  Students move quickly through lines—both in the kitchen area and at remote stations in the building—to grab the breakfast and then eat during the extended break opportunity.

The program has seen considerable success!  The initial goal for the program was fairly modest as we hoped roughly half the students of the secondary building would participate in the breakfast option.  The participation rates have truly been outstanding—and better than we ever imagined! 

Participation quickly jumped from a couple hundred students to 500 and then about 700 students.  In the past few weeks, almost as many breakfast meals have been provided as we have served noon, lunch meals!  Students have embraced the breakfast program more readily than we had ever expected!



In November, our long-time Buildings and Grounds Director, Ken Kraemer, retired from his position.  We conducted a search process that brought us a great replacement for Ken with the hiring of Buildings and Grounds Director Aaron Pilarski.

Aaron, however, has recently resigned from the district to accept a similar job in Willmar—a short stay with ROCORI.  In essence, Aaron received an “offer he couldn’t refuse…” from Willmar.  For the same type of position, he was offered a fairly substantial salary increase. 

Beyond that, Aaron and his family were residents of Willmar when he accepted the job here—and the Willmar position gave him a role about 10 minutes from his home!  Because they had a home they love, the position was in their home city, and it was at a good salary, it became an offer the family could not turn down.

While we are disappointed that we could not keep Aaron in ROCORI for a longer period of time, we fully understand his change!  We are in the process of accepting applications for the Buildings and Grounds Director and will be working through a selection process in the near future!



Although I typically try not to advertise for the St. Cloud Times in our local paper or with this column, I have to acknowledge that the Times has done an excellent job with a series of articles presented the first weekend of the month.  The series is known as the Spark Initiative. 

Through the series, the Spark program invests considerable time, space, and resources to the exploration of various career opportunities available to young adults in the Central Minnesota region.  The series offers insight into the kind of preparation required, training opportunities in the area, and employment information about the various fields. 

Recent articles have featured work in the transportation and culinary fields, but a wide variety of topics have been covered.  The series includes information about people working in the field, training and educational opportunities in the area related to the field, and details about employment expectations.  The articles typically review the types of salaries and benefits available within fields, the opportunities available (placement and vacancies) within the region, and the needs that are anticipated in the future.

The St. Cloud Times has made an archive of the series available on its website.  If you haven’t seen the series—or missed some of the articles—it is worth the effort to go to the St. Cloud Times to catch up on the information!



This week marks the annual Community Showcase hosted at the ROCORI Secondary School site.  The annual event is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the many, many different businesses operating within our community.

The event is hosted at the school as part of our partnership with our local business community.  The space in the High School Commons and gymnasium area offers a great opportunity to highlight the businesses and the connections within our community.  It is also a great opportunity to do some fun activities and be entertained throughout the day.

Pat Donlin and the Showcase Committee have worked hard, throughout the year, to build upon the success of each previous Showcase.  Good ideas continue to move forward and new ideas are always considered to improve and strengthen the Showcase.  It is a fun community event!

If you have opportunity on Saturday, March 18, to drop by the High School, I have no doubt you will find the visit to be worthwhile!  The Showcase runs from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with a lot of things to celebrate about our community!



I think I probably make this comment every week, but this part of the school year is an incredibly busy and full time!  We have lots of great things happening within the ROCORI Schools as well as throughout our communities! 

While I cannot cover everything that happens, I do want you to know that the ROCORI School District is a great place to work and grow!  We want be part of a community that makes a difference today to create a better tomorrow!  Thanks for your support in helping us bring that mission to life!