082012

STARTING THE SCHOOL YEAR

We are quickly moving through the month of August which means we are getting close to the opening of the 2012-2013 school year.  I am returning to the task of providing information about the district in the Cold Spring Record.  After a break during the month of July, it is a privilege and a pleasure to return to the task of "filling" the space allowed in the Cold Spring Record on a regular basis.

 

PURPOSE OF THE COLUMN

It is my desire to use this space to share information about the school system.  I believe the space can be a useful tool in sharing information about issues, events, programs, and decisions in the school district as well as items about education in general. 

I truly appreciate the willingness of the staff at the Record to allow the space, review the materials, and work to get information out to the public.  It is a tremendous privilege to work with the professional staff at the paper and to be able to share information with our school district.

At different times of the year, I will cover various topics and issues.  As we go through the year, some of the articles will prove to be time-specific—they will be used to cover immediate issues in the district.  At other times, the articles will highlight information about education in general or themes or topics about education.  I hope that regular readers will find something worthwhile in the articles as you read throughout the year.

 

START OF SCHOOL YEAR

It is a sure sign of the school year when the fall athletic activities get underway.  This past week was the opening of the "conditioning" season for cross-country, girls' tennis, senior high football, senior high volleyball, girls swimming, and other fall activities. Senior high student athletes reported for "duty" beginning on August 13.

New members of the school staff report to school for orientation processes beginning this week!  On Tuesday, August 21, we begin sessions with new staff members and continue through Thursday.  The new staff will be provided information about the district, meet other new staff member, visit their school sites, talk with the building principal, and “adjust” to the new school setting.

All staff members return to school during the week of August 28 with workshop and in-service days scheduled on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of that week.  We have a district-wide in-service day set for Thursday, August 30.  The day includes a noon luncheon with the Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce, Richmond Civic and Commerce, and all school staff.  The afternoon includes a training session for all staff focused on a program called the “Top Twenty.”

School resumes across the district on Tuesday, September 4, as students return for classes following the Labor Day weekend! 

 

SCHOOL LUNCH CHANGES

One of the most significant changes that students will experience this year is a federal law change regarding school lunch.  Our food service staff will provide information more directly to parents and students, but everyone needs to be aware of the fact that the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act requires significant changes in the school lunch program.

In simple terms, the Act requires schools to increase the focus on fruits and vegetables while limiting breads, grains, meats and cheeses.  Traditional menus will have much more stringent guidelines on minimum and maximum amounts within the various food groups.

According to Melissa Anderson, who serves as Food Service Director for the district until the start of the year, one of the most difficult adjustments for students will likely be the limits that must be imposed—especially on things like breads and grains.  There are maximum amounts, in a day and week, that students are able to have; when those amounts are met, those items must be removed from the menu or eliminated from student choices. 

“It will take students a while to get used to not having peanut butter sandwiches or extra bread readily available,” was a comment Melissa expressed regarding the new requirements, “but those items have to be limited because of the maximums put in place in the guidelines.”

According to the Minnesota Department of Education, the amount and variety of foods served is aimed at making sure that students have enough to eat—but not too much of certain types of food (such as breads or grains).

The changes in the food service program will be one of the biggest areas of change students, and families, will encounter as we return to school this fall!  It is not necessarily the result of local decisions or choices; the changes are driven by the requirements of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act at the federal level of government.