A FEW BRIEF TOPICS
As we approach the middle of April, there are a lot of things happening across the district. We are in test season, our spring activities are just able to get outside and begin the competitive season, we have had a number of concert events, honors and recognition programs will soon be approaching, special events like the Prom will soon occur, and culminating events like field trips and class activities will be underway. Spring becomes a very busy time at schools across the state.
We have entered the state’s “test season.” The Minnesota Comprehensive Test “window” has opened. The state sets beginning and ending points for the ability to schedule and take the required state tests. We have, essentially, the month of April to complete our MCA testing processes across the district.
In addition to the MCA testing, the NWEA or MAPS testing also happens at the end of the year. These tests are intended to measure student progress over the course of the year. They are needed for a number of reasons. Student growth or progress is measured. The information helps us to project forward student success in other areas. The measurements are an important point of data used in placing students into academic programs, intervention processes, or eligibility for particular services.
Demands are pretty high during this part of the year. Schedules become fairly tight and adjustments to testing schedules are difficult to make.
SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS
As a school district, we participate in the Severe Weather Awareness Week scheduled across the state of Minnesota. The process plays out differently at the various levels of the district, but we certainly participate in the process.
Last week, we received information from the Stearns County Emergency Management team. Stearns County is promoting Severe Weather Awareness Week for the week of April 20-24.
We received a Severe Weather Awareness Week bulletin which outlines issues to address during the week. The schedule includes Alerts and Warnings, Severe Storms, Flood Safety, Tornado Awareness, and Heat Wave Safety. Each daily topic can be viewed on the Stearns County website at: http://www.co.stearns.mn.us/LawPublicSafety/EmergencyServices/DisasterPreparation.
We are also, as a district, encouraged to share this information with our community. For more information regarding Severe Weather Awareness Week, please visit the Homeland Security and Emergency Management website at www.severeweather.state.mn.us/.
HIGH SCHOOL RECOGNITION
ROCORI Senior High School just received notification that it has, again, been recognized as a school of excellence by US News and World Report. The recognition is the third time, and second consecutive year, that ROCORI High School earned the Bronze Medal Award for being one of the Nation’s Best High Schools.
As Principal Mark Jenson shared the information with the staff, he explained that “In determining the formula, AP (Advanced Placement) classes are factored in and not College in the High School offerings, so for us to receive a Bronze Medal is quite the accomplishment. Thanks so much for all of your hard work as a staff and your dedication in helping our students achieve their very best each year. I am truly proud to work for you in this school!”
Across the country, AP classes are used as an opportunity for students to potentially earn college credit while still in high school. There is no guarantee, through AP coursework, that college credit will be awarded. After examining this issue and wanting to do more for our students, we have determined to participate in the College in the High School program—somewhat unique to Minnesota. Completion of these courses does earn students college credits (at least in Minnesota schools—and often transferrable to other states). Unfortunately, these credits are not acknowledged in USNWR’s ranking process.
As Mr. Jenson shared, that simply makes the accomplishment of the Bronze level recognition all the more remarkable and impressive. Congratulations to the staff and students of ROCORI High School on a very significant recognition.
There is one more item to note! ROCORI’s accomplishment was unique to the area. Mr. Jenson added, “I did check and yes we are still on top with our neighboring schools in the St. Cloud area. None received any award status for 2014!” We were the only school in the area to be recognized!