We are moving rapidly to the end of the month of April and the final stretch of the 2012-13 school year!  As always, there are a lot of things going on in the ROCORI Schools.  I can’t cover them all, but I would like to take a little time to highlight a few issues across the district in this week’s column. 



I am honestly hoping this is the last time I need to cover calendar issues for the 2012-13 school year!  As I wrote last week’s article, we were in the middle of a storm warning and ended up losing Friday, April 19 to the poor conditions.  That made the fifth lost school day of the year—not including early releases or late starts!

At the board meeting on April 22, the School Board confirmed that students would be in session on Friday, April 26, to make up for the school day lost on April 11.  The lost day on April 19 shifted us back to the original calendar plan of making up a day on May 31.

Students, then will be in session on Friday, May 31.  Staff members are expected to complete their contracted time during the week of June 3 through 5.  Some of the support staff will only have parts of that time to complete their contracts while members of the teacher group will be in session all three days.



On Wednesday, April 24, a gathering was held by Resource Training and Solutions of area high school seniors.  The program, at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center, honored the top students in Central Minnesota’s high schools.  This was the 26th annual recognition ceremony.

ROCORI students honored at the event included Kyndra Dockendorf, Justin Rothstein, Brianna Schlangen and McKenzie van der Hagen.  There were 155 seniors from 38 different high schools recognized at the Students of Excellence program.

These students rank very high in the class of 2013 and, as Resource Executive Director Rob Cavanna explained, “academic achievement is the demonstrated ability to perform, achieve and/or excel in scholastic activities.  Academic excellence has been identified with achieving high grades and superior performance.”

Dr. Joe Hill of Sartell-St. Stephen served as the presiding superintendent at the event.  The keynote address was offered by David Malmberg—ventriloquist, guitarist, broadcaster and author from Minnesota.  His message focused on pursuing your passions.  “Well, if you’re lucky, you find out your passion in life,” Malmberg commented.  “For me, it is laughter and music.  I have been fortunate enough to do both for a living.”



April is a month during which the ROCORI School District takes time to recognize and honor the work of our support staff.  During this past week, several members of the school staff were recognized for their hard work and dedication within the district.

We have recently implemented a different structure for the support staff awards.  We have placed different positions into groups of employees in order to provide a more balanced representation of all employees in the district.  We also develop a schedule to recognize and honor each of the support staff employee groups within the district.  

On Monday, April 22, we recognized those serving in Food Service and as part of the Kitchen Staff.  On Tuesday, April 23, we honored those in roles in Maintenance, Custodians and Cleaners.  In conjunction with national Administrative Assistants Day, we use Wednesday, April 24th to recognize those serving in Clerical and Secretarial roles.  On Thursday, April 25th, we honored our Paraprofessionals and employees in the Health Services.

Scott Wellnitz, head custodian at John Clark Elementary School in Rockville, was honored as the Maintenance and Custodial Staff Member of Excellence.

Irene Worm, head cook at the Richmond Elementary School site, received the recognition in the Food Service group.

In the Clerical and Secretarial group, ROCORI Middle School Assistant Shannon Molitor was named our Support Staff of Excellence recipient.

In the Paraprofessional and Health Services area, ROCORI High School and Middle School Media Center Assistant, Theresa Dingmann, was honored.

There is a list of specific criteria used to nominate employees for the awards.  One of the critical criteria is that they cannot hold a certified or licensed position in order to be considered—it truly has to be a support staff role! The criteria for selecting honorees included the following standards:

·The nominee must be a non-licensed educator

·Has a thorough knowledge of work responsibilities, demonstrates safety for self and others, and cultivates respect for resources and facilities.

·Portrays a positive role model for students, staff, and the community.

·Is an exemplary staff member who recognizes students, peers and colleagues as individuals and who shows genuine respect and concern for others.

·Seeks to improve personally and professionally.

·Is making a difference every day in the lives of students, staff, and their community.

Congratulations to each of these employees!  Our recipients will be recognized, not only in our district this spring, but also at a gathering next September organized by Resource Training.



Obviously, with the extended winter weather conditions, our spring activities have had a very difficult time.  The baseball and softball teams are not able to get on fields to practice or to play.  Our track cleared off once and then was buried again—but there are some indoor events at which the track and field teams have been able to enjoy!  With no golf courses in the area even open, the golf teams have no place outdoors to engage in their activity.  It has been a very difficult spring.

Even more challenging will be the schedules for the teams when they are able to go!  A season that “opened” back in early March will be condensed into a three or four week season.  That means the teams and participants will be incredibly busy for an intense, but short, season. 

The Activities Office has been at work to schedule and reschedule as many events as possible.  We know that we will lose some contests but we also know that most every day of the week becomes a possibility for a contest, event, or game. 

As a district, we work hard to honor and respect traditions such as holding Wednesday night open for church and religious activities, but we know that may be difficult with the spring season.  We will do everything we are able, but (to be fair to our students and teams) we also know that we must schedule as much of a season as possible to allow the best competition. 

We are trusting that warm weather at the end of April will help us to get outside for actual practice and events!



The extended winter season has also affected us “indoors.”  The cancellation of school and events has pretty dramatically changed our academic schedule.  Early April to mid-May is “testing season” in school districts as Minnesota opens a window for students to take the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs).

As we have had to close or delay school, it is also shifted our opportunities to conduct tests.  We also experienced, statewide, a technology problem that caused testing on one day to be canceled by the Department of Education.   Between the weather and state technology issues, we have truly had to adjust and readjust the testing schedules.

It is not always easy to “gear up” for testing only to find that it has been postponed or shifted.  We appreciate the approach our students have taken to the testing issues.  They have been very flexible and responsive to changing conditions—and we appreciate it. 



Very definitely, the month of May will be full of activities.  Traditionally, we have a large number of extra-curricular activities.  We have end of the year concerts and recognition programs.  We have many culminating field trips and exhibitions.  Coupled with the issues from the extended winter, this May will be very challenging and absolutely full of events!