Submitted by brian on



I would like to take a look at a few items in this week’s column to quickly provide updates on things happening in the school district!  The first item is explained by Activity Director Joel Baumgarten.  A note has gone to families with this information, but I wanted to be sure the information is shared in the community.



This is to promote and explain the 2nd Annual ROCORI Coaches Carnival at RHS/RMS Gyms and Commons from 3-6PM on Friday March 21st. The carnival will be held for all potential district elementary/middle school students (grades 3-8). 

The idea is for students to experience fun and fitness activities with current ROCORI activity participants and athletes. Coaches and secondary activity participants have been asked to operate this event.  This will be a great opportunity for students to play and hang out with their favorite ROCORI athletes.

The carnival will promote activities, fitness and fun as students will be able to win prizes and allow students to display a variety of skills or just try something new. Students will be able to choose from 40-50 different sports and activity booths which will be run by ROCORI athletes/participants and coaches.

Inflatable fun areas will also be available for extra activity choices.  Drawings for numerous extra prizes that have been donated will occur during the event. There will be a drawing toward the end of the carnival (about 5:30PM) for the entire group to possibly win some extra prizes. 

This should prove to be a fun time for our students with a touch of spring fever.

All 3rd through 8th graders are invited to participate. It was decided that 3-8 grades would be most age appropriate and able to participate without parental guidance. Students who are older than 8th grade will not be included this time. 

Students who are younger can come with a parent to check them in at the door (Door #11 RHS-by the Commons) and participate with them. No matter the age, any parent is welcome to come with their child to experience this event.  Parents are welcome any time to come in and observe the kids in action if they check in at Door #11. 

Schools that have been invited include: ROCORI Middle School, Cold Spring Elementary School (3rd-5th Grades), John Clark Elementary School (3rd-5th Grades), Richmond Elementary School (3rd-5th Grades), St. Boniface Elementary (3rd-6th Grades), St. Peter and Paul Elementary School (3rd-5th Grades), and Holy Cross Elementary (3rd-6th Grades).  Some of these students will have the option of riding the bus to the high school if needed.  This has already been approved by the bus companies.

All 3-8 grade students will need to hand in a permission slip (received at school or attached) and pay $5 to their schools prior to the carnival day. Teachers have been asked to help collect the waivers and money for this event from their students. 

We are hoping that all ROCORI students from these grades will be able to attend.  Last year about 400 students experienced this event. 

All proceeds from this event will go toward future activity needs. Some items that will be financially supported include: scholarships for students and the new Hall of Fame Wall. 

A special thanks to the ROCORI Coaches and athletes/activity participants for all of their efforts in preparing and operating this event.



At the school board meeting on March 10, the School Board members heard a proposal regarding the potential addition of soccer as a school-sponsored activity.  The Chain of Lakes Soccer Club has fielded cooperative soccer teams for a considerable time, but the organization is asking the district to make the program a school-sponsored, competitive activity.

The Chain of Lakes Soccer Club has spent considerable time during the school year to put together information and data to share with the School Board.  There has been considerable participation in the club soccer program, but there have been some limitations to participation as well.  Because the games and practices are conducted in Richmond and Paynesville, travel to the events has been difficult for some families. 

The soccer support group presented a great deal of information in support of the district developing a program.  Soccer is, across the world, the most popular athletic activity and involves students of all cultures.  The ability of soccer to to engage more of the district’s at-risk students, various ethnic and racial groups, and to engage students who are not currently engaged in activities are important elements to the district support of the proposal. 

The ROCORI School District, at this point, is the only school within the Central Lakes Conference which does not field soccer activities.  The most recent survey of ROCORI High School students shows considerable interest in soccer participation.

The proposal suggests two organizational options for the program.  The desired approach would be to field boys and girls teams at the varsity, junior varsity and middle school levels.  If that cannot be offered, the alternative would be to initiate the program at the junior varsity and middle school levels.  Estimates from the club would have nearly 120 students participating if all three levels are offered and about 60 students if the varsity program is not included.

Activity Director Baumgarten has done some preliminary work on the proposal.  Soccer schedules within the CLC and with area schools are still possible to develop for 2014-15 so the teams could operate in the fall.  Participation in Minnesota State High School League events would require the district to register as a school yet this spring.

The proposal offered to the board indicated that the main source of funding for the activity would come from student fees. The district general fund, student activity fees, and revenue from the activity would address financial concerns. 

A review of the financial elements suggests that, once fees and revenue are included and costs to the program are calculated, the program would require about $15,000 to $17,000 to operate.  The proposal suggests that this would be district responsibility but that the Chain of Lakes Soccer organization would be willing to assist in meeting these obligations.

The ROCORI School District has multiple sites that would be suitable for soccer fields. Activities Director Baumgarten and Buildings and Grounds Director Kraemer have given consideration to options and ideas within the resources of the District. 

The options include developing fields south of the ROCORI HS parking lot, developing fields north of the Athletic Complex, developing practice fields on the Cold Spring campus with use of the Richmond soccer field for games while also using the Athletic Complex field to showcase soccer games, and working with the city of Cold Spring to develop soccer fields in other locations within the city.

The School Board did not act on the proposal at the meeting on March 10.  The purpose of the presentation, as normal part of school board practice, was to introduce the idea.  The issue will return to a future school board agenda after some additional information, review and processing is completed in the district. It is expected that a decision will be made by the middle of April at the latest.