NOTES ACROSS THE DISTRICT
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!
WINTER ACTIVITIES COME TO CLOSE
On Thursday night, the ROCORI Spartans boys’ basketball team played the Big Lake Hornets in the Section 5AAA championship game. Although the team took a good lead into halftime, the Hornets came back in the second half to advance to the state tournament. With the loss, the winter season for ROCORI came to a close!
The winter season is always very busy! In Fine Arts, the One-Act play unfolds with competition in January. The band and choir generally have a couple concerts as well as pep band activities and preparations for the solo and ensemble contests. The Speech team, officially considered a spring activity, has been involved in contests and will head toward Section and State as we head into April!
ROCORI has a broad base of competitive winter activities including boys and girls basketball, boys’ swimming, wrestling, dance (Jazz and High Kick), and boys and girls hockey. All of the teams competed well this winter with individuals as well as teams having varying levels of success!
Individual records and milestones were set on many fronts with Nick Warne setting a school record for wins in wrestling while Derek Thompson reached 1,000 points over his basketball career. Individual students advanced to state competition while the dance teams (both Jazz and High Kick) finished well at state! Lea Frank was selected as dance coach of the year by her peers!
Last week, as the basketball team finished its season, the Spring activities got underway with practices opening on Monday and a parent meeting Tuesday night! “March Madness” might be the right name for the month with students ending winter events and starting spring activities!
This coming Friday afternoon and evening, March 24, will feature the fifth annual ROCORI Coaches’ Carnival. The event is open to ROCORI elementary students from 3:00 to 6:00 with a variety of fun events carried out by the students and coaches involved in activities.
The carnival is a great way for elementary students to get to see and know some of the students and athletes in the secondary site. Each activity and organization sponsors some type of game, contest, or activity for the younger students. The elementary-aged students receive prizes and awards throughout the carnival.
Attendance at the carnival has continued to grow over the five years! It is a great event for all students—young and old—as it brings students across the district together for an afternoon and early evening of fun!
SEE DAY AT THE CAPITOL
On Tuesday, March 8, ROCORI participated in the SEE (Schools for Equity in Education) Day at the Capitol. The effort was organized by SEE to bring member schools together to talk to area legislators about important educational issues.
ROCORI was represented at the capitol by School Board members Lynn Schurman and Kara Habben, Director of Business Services Beth Bertram, Student Senate/Student School Board representatives Nick Warne and Tayler Dingmann, and me. We were joined, for the day, by representatives from Paynesville, Melrose, and Albany. Deb Griffiths, from SEE, facilitated the meetings and conversations!
We were fortunate to have quite a bit of time to meet with Senator Michelle Fischbach and Representative Jeff Howe. While the ROCORI contingent was able to be at the capitol, we also met with Senator Torrey Westrom. A meeting with Representative O’Driscoll had to be canceled and the group met with Representative Paul Anderson but the ROCORI members had to get back to the district.
Several issues were part of the conversations. The group advocated for support of many of the Governor’s proposed education budget—especially for the increase in foundation aid at a minimum of 2% and 2%. Support for special education funding, efforts on tax equalization, and agriculture land property tax relief were other key topics.
During the session with Representative Howe, Nick Warne and Tayler Dingmann seized the opportunity to share their educational experiences at ROCORI. They captivated the room, including Representative Howe, with their descriptions of learning opportunities they have been fortunate to experience—while expressing concern that adequate funding needs to be provided to keep the opportunities available for those to come! The session was excellent!
JOHN CLARK ELEMENTARY PBIS INITIATIVE
The staff at John Clark Elementary School has recently been notified that their application for state training with the PBIS initiative was approved! This is an exciting opportunity for the site and the district.
PBIS, positive behavioral intervention strategies, is an approach endorsed by the state and in schools across the nation, as a broad-based effort to strengthen student-staff relationships while offering positive interactions with students to reduce behavioral issues.
Principal Muth shared a great deal of the information at the most recent School Board meeting. The application is only accepted if there is evidence of a building-wide commitment to training, support, and implementation of the concepts. There is a rigorous application process and a thorough review of site expectations.
The approval by the Department of Education means that the Rockville, John Clark Elementary, site will engage in a process, supported by MDE, of implementation in the 2017-2018 school year. There will be training opportunities as well as implementation plans over the next several years at the site! It is a great opportunity for the building, and the district, to be trained in alternative behavioral strategies!
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!