NOTES ABOUT THE DISTRICT
Last week was the final week of the year for students. Staff members, because of the wild winter weather, have obligations the first three work days of June. We have work that is being done with staff this week, but it is incredibly hard to believe that we are already at the end of the school year!
This week, I would like to look at a few quick topics. They cover a number of varied issues, but I think they are important ideas to address.
This fall, the ROCORI School District will be conducting an election. We will have an election for positions on the school board. We have a six-member school board and half the seats (three positions) are open each time we have an election.
The seats open on the school board include those held by Lisa Demuth, Kara Habben, and Tim Lieser. These are four-year positions on the board. The terms begin January 1, 2015 and continue through December 31, 2018.
Nadine Schnettler, Lynn Schurman, and Mike Austreng were elected in 2012 and their positions continue through December 31, 2016.
The ROCORI District has chosen not to conduct primary elections related to the school board. Primary elections would have required the district to conduct two elections to identify school board members and rarely have we had the need to narrow the field of candidates. The other drawback to a primary is that candidates, when a primary is held, must make the decision to run for office in May rather than August.
Information from the Department of State indicates that candidates for school board will need to file for board seats by August. As a district, we will post additional information about the filing process as we get closer to the actual dates, but anyone interested in serving on the school board should begin thinking about filing for position at this point in time.
HIGH SCHOOL HONOR
We received notification recently that ROCORI High School was recognized by US News and World Report as a top-ranking high school in Minnesota! This recognition is the second time in three years that RHS has been honored.
ROCORI was recognized as a bronze level school for our academic performance! US News and World Report uses a broad base of information to make its determinations but focuses on performance of students on state tests measuring proficiency in core subjects, performance better than state average for the least advantaged students, and performance on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams. ROCORI performed well in the first two categories, but not as well in the last area.
Quite honestly, we have made some decisions that will keep us off the list in the last area—but we feel the decisions are better for students. About 10 years ago, we had both Advanced Placement (AP) courses and College in the High School (CITHS) courses. We deliberately chose to move away from the AP classes in order to offer more of the CITHS classes.
In our view, both sets of courses were demanding as both were college level courses. In the AP classes, however, we could not “guarantee” that students would walk away with college level credits. In the CITHS classes, as long as the students successfully completed the requirements not only would they have high school credit, but they would also have college credit for their work. Within the state of Minnesota, we could guarantee that credits would move with them.
As a result of that decision, many of our students move from here with college credits to “lighten their load.” This year’s graduating class will leave with more than 2800 college credits in their records!
We did not get US News and World Report “credit” for that step, but it sure makes a difference to our students and our families! We are very proud of the options we are able to extend to our High School students and are very pleased with the recognition that has come from US News and World Report!
As we complete the year, we also recognize the conclusion of educational careers for a number of ROCORI Staff members. A few weeks ago, I also shared this list but I would like to take a little time to honor our retirees.
A number of our classroom assistants are completing their service in the district. Jen Birk (paraprofessional who has served at RHS and CSE sites), Karen Dingmann (paraprofessional from CSE), Shirley Kuechle (CSE paraprofessional), and Lucy Schreiner (paraprofessional at CSE) have submitted notices of their plans to retire from the ROCORI Schools.
Teachers who have given notice that they are retiring from the ROCORI School District include Marlys Eikmeier (RHS Family and Consumer Science teacher), Anita Hentges (RMS Family and Consumer Science teacher), Jerry Loomis (Social Studies instructor at RHS), and Chris Poff (third grade teacher at CSE).
Sylvia Lieser (food service staff at the District Education Facility), Julie Stein (principal’s secretary at John Clark Elementary in Rockville), and Karen Wenner (Health Technician serving at the District Education Facility and across the district) have retired from support roles across the district.
Mark Grelson (Community Education Director) will officially complete his service in the system at the end of June.
Congratulations to each of these staff members! There is a great deal of collective experience among this group! We wish each of them the best as they begin a new phase of life!