Summer months are “officially” upon us as we have concluded the 2016-17 school year. Things continue to be busy around the school campus, however, as a variety of camps and activity sessions are being conducted. Certainly conditions are different, but there are a lot of students and staff around the buildings.
HIGH SCHOOL HONOR
We received notification recently that ROCORI High School was recognized by US News as a top-ranking high school in Minnesota! This recognition is the fourth time in the last six years that RHS has been honored.
ROCORI was recognized as a bronze level school for our academic performance! US News 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 we do not offer AP or IB classes.
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. More than a decade ago, we had both Advanced Placement (AP) courses and College in the High School/concurrent enrollment (CITHS) courses. We deliberately chose to move away from the AP classes in order to offer more of the concurrent enrollment classes.
In our view, both sets of courses were demanding. AP/IB courses and CITHS courses are college level courses. In the AP classes, however, we could not “guarantee” that students would walk away with college level credits. In the concurrent enrollment 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 3200 college credits in their records!
We did not get US News “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!
For more than a decade, the ROCORI District closes for a full week during the summer. As a cost-saving measure in the early 2000s, the School Board adopted a motion to close the district for the week around Independence Day.
Because it happens around the end of one fiscal year and the start of another, we try to schedule the week of closure in the new fiscal year. Thus, the district is closed, this summer, from July 3 to July 7.
The 4th of July falls on Tuesday and we are closed for the full week.
There are no authorized school district activities during this week as all offices and buildings are closed.
I am often asked, as the school year ends, what I will do with all the time off in the summer. Quite often people do not understand that a number of school staff members, including the superintendent, must be at the school year-round.
I understand the confusion. Clearly, students have a summer break between school years. Members of the teaching staff and paraprofessionals who are not engaged in summer education programs have a break between school years. Our food service staff has a break from their duties. Some of our secretarial staff has extended time away from the school sites. There is a significant change in the number of employees at the sites during the summer; we do, however, have year-round work!
Although students are away, we have a significant number of people who work the entire year. The custodial staff is very much involved in work over the summer as all of our buildings, classrooms, and spaces undergo extensive cleaning. Cleaning and maintenance crews move through all of our sites to clean and repair facilities for the upcoming school year.
There are many duties for our secretarial or clerical staff. The grades, academic information, records and details from the completed school year must be finalized. The supplies, resources, and materials for the upcoming year must be ordered, received, organized, and distributed. There are enrollment and other student records that must be addressed. Classes for the upcoming year must be scheduled, class lists finalized, students and parents notified, and other planning activities completed.
In the district office, all of the normal year-round functions must be completed. We have many of the same, regular responsibilities that occur monthly—payroll, insurance, bills, school board meetings, calls, other meetings, appointments, vehicle schedules, building schedules, and other activities. Many of the duties are just the same in the summer as they are through the school year.
Administratively, we have work to complete from the previous year while planning for the upcoming year. There is often a considerable amount of hiring to complete along with training issues. Reviewing schedules, overseeing summer programs, organizing various areas of the schools sites and working with custodial crews to make space/physical changes to the sites, and other issues occur.
As I reported last week, we have added some work to our summer! We have been determined to be eligible for the free summer meal program for anyone 18 and under. We are expecting to serve a number of students on a regular basis through the KIDSTOP program and the various activity programs, but anyone 18 and under is eligible to have free breakfast and/or lunch at school throughout the summer.
Summer is actually a very busy part of the year! Much of the work is planning, but there are a lot of regular tasks that are on-going and need to be completed during the summer just as other parts of the school year!
Although the regular school year schedules have come to a halt, the school sites are very busy. Summer school is underway. Camps and activities have been scheduled. All of our regular district-level activities continue and we have added the summer food service program!
It is hard to believe that we are already hitting the summer season! Time just passes way too quickly as the calendar has shifted from May to June and we completed the student school year and excused students for the summer!