PREPARING FOR THE START OF THE YEAR
We have moved past the middle of the month and are rapidly approaching the end of August! This means we are getting much closer to the start of another school year. 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.
The summer activities to prepare our buildings are drawing to a close as more and more students and staff regularly appear at the building sites. I want to share a few thoughts about things happening in the district during the summer as well as the preparations for opening the school year.
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.
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 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. I hope regular readers will find something worthwhile in the articles as they are provided throughout the year.
Through the summer, students have been actively engaged in a number of different programs. The newest opportunity within the community has been the Summer Meal program. Any community resident under age 18 has been able to have breakfast and/or lunch Monday through Friday during the summer at the RHS Commons. Adults have been able to secure the same meal at a relatively low cost. The meal program continues through August 25. Overall, the program has been very successful in serving meals to students on a regular basis!
The district conducts a very busy and active summer strength and conditioning program. Each year nearly 300 students at the secondary level participate, in some fashion, in the conditioning program. As a part of the training program, Mr. Zauhar conducts a very successful Spartan Challenge in late July or early August for area athletes to demonstrate the growth they have achieved in their conditioning efforts.
There have been summer classes and academic programs throughout the summer at all levels of the district. Elementary age students have been able to engage in classroom programs at the Richmond, Rockville, and Cold Spring elementary sites as well as through Community Education. The middle school and senior high have conducted summer academic programs as well. Special Education classes and learning programs have served students of all ages throughout the summer.
As usual, there have been a variety of summer camps, classes, excursions and activities through Community Education. Our campuses have been filled with Youth Association and other organization events, leagues and activities as well. Beyond those events, community festivals use our campuses and facilities for some portion of the events. It has, overall, been a very busy summer.
The summer offices, buildings and grounds staff, and custodial staff members have been hard at work getting the buildings ready for the start of the school year. Although we don’t have students and staff on regular school schedules during the summer, there is a lot of work that must be done to complete one school year and prepare for another.
Our facilities have received great treatment over the course of the summer through the duties and efforts of the custodial, maintenance and cleaning staff. The staff has been hard at work cleaning, scrubbing, sorting, repairing, building, removing, and preparing our school buildings. Over the course of the summer, all the buildings have been given attention in preparation for the start of school.
The grounds crew has been able to maintain the outdoor space and prepare for the fall activities. Buildings and Grounds supervisor Brent Neisinger and his crews have done tremendous work throughout the summer. With the temperatures, watering and rains throughout the summer, we have had a great growing season—but that also means regular and consistent maintenance of the district fields and grounds!
The offices have also been staffed by dedicated and hard-working employees. Each of these staff members have been very diligent in their efforts--whether in the district office or one of the building offices--working to get the district in shape for the start of the school year. We have witnessed a large number of enrollment and student changes moving from last year to this year! This has presented some challenges to principals and office staff in developing schedules and working to keep information up to date.
We have also seen a number of personnel changes this year. There have been many staff members and positions changing, individuals coming to or leaving the district, and adjustments to assignments or duties. Through all of it, the office staff members have invested great energy and effort in school preparation!
NEW STAFF REPORT
New members of the school staff report to school for orientation processes beginning this week! On Tuesday, August 22, we begin sessions with new staff members and continue through Thursday. One of the highlights, for the full session on Tuesday, is a “tour” of the district—stopping at several businesses, looking at the school sites, and giving staff members a time to get to know each other.
The new staff will be provided information about the district, meet other new staff members, visit their school sites, talk with the building principal, and “adjust” to the new school setting. They are given opportunity to experience some of our processes as well as an introduction to our systems and technology. The time goes very quickly over the three days with a lot of information and learning!
Parents should have gotten messages regarding transportation information already. We have shifted to sharing transportation information electronically this year. There are no physical mailings or cards that are being distributed.
It is important that parents confirm their addresses, daycare information, and any special information with the district and, ultimately, the transportation providers. This can all be done with electronic transportation forms.
The district transportation forms are on-line with the ROCORI School District website. The bus routes are in the process of being developed and the regular bus route information should be available electronically to parents in the near future.
As the calendar rolls forward, there is no question we are gearing up for the start of school! Activities are rapidly increasing and we are quickly getting the buildings set for students and staff to return. School begins for students on Tuesday, September 5!