A FEW NOTES
We are well into the new school year as students have completed two weeks of classes and staff members have been here for three weeks! There are always a lot of things that we share at the start of a year and this year is no different. In this week’s paper, I would like to cover a few brief topics that are not related to each other, but simply things we need to share!
Over the past few weeks, three community businesses worked together to collect donations for school supplies for the three ROCORI elementary schools. I want to take a moment to thank residents and the businesses for their efforts to support our students and classrooms.
We received some very nice school supply donations as we drew close to the start of the school year in August! The Cold Spring Home Pride Lions brought several tubs of resources and materials for students at the Middle School and Cold Spring Elementary School. The tubs included paper, folders, glue, markers, scissors, and many different items to use in the classroom.
About the same time in August, the staff at Verizon Communications also dropped off about 60 backpacks for use at the school. There were many different styles of backpacks so students would have a variety to choose. As a bonus, each of the backpacks included some extra school supplies placed inside.
Jimmy’s Pizza, Farmers Insurance and Precision Collision have served as collection points for residents to drop off supplies. The collection points brought together a good assortment of supplies for students and staff to use! We appreciate the efforts of community members to help meet the needs of students. Richmond Elementary, Cold Spring Elementary and John Clark Elementary (Rockville) schools will each receive a portion of the supplies to use in their classrooms! Thank you for the donations and the support of our students!
All of the donations will assist our students, especially those who are in need of support, to have resources available to them. As a district, we truly appreciate the businesses and organizations that have collected materials, those who have generously offered the items, and the support given to our students.
At the secondary site, we have continued to strengthen our school lunch program as we try to meet both the federal guidelines directing the program and the needs or desires of students. A few adjustments have been made at the secondary site.
Two additions have been made to the secondary meal program. The ability to offer a Spartan meal to students has been reinstated. The Spartan meal is an upscale meal that students may choose for lunch. It is slightly more expensive that the regular meal—at 65 cents more—but it offers a different option for our students that meets the federal food requirements.
The other addition has been very popular at the start of the year with the warm temperatures. The secondary kitchen has a frozen yogurt machine as an option for students. It has been so popular, according to Food Service Director Penny Hoops, that it has been hard to keep it supplied for student use!
FREE LUNCH APPLICATIONS
As we start the year, we also want to take the opportunity to remind parents that they may wish to consider completing a Free Lunch application. In the past, there were two categories related to the application but legislation that went into effect last school year eliminated the reduced price lunch category and, in Minnesota, made all families that qualify eligible for free lunches.
We would encourage any family struggling with meal fees or family financial conditions to submit an application. The application is received in the district with strong requirements to maintain family privacy. Because our processes for purchasing meals are electronic, students simply enter their PIN number and the meals are covered. It is a confidential—yet valuable—opportunity for many families.
In addition to a desire to be sure that eligible students are able to secure the meals, submission of the applications may help us as a school district. The number of students identified as eligible for free meals has an impact on several sources of state and federal funding. Every approved application affects our count of free/reduced students and directly affects our Title I resources, compensatory resources at the state level, and eligibility for various grants or programs.
Successful applications, then, result in students securing meals through the food service program and generate additional state and federal funds for the district. We want to encourage families—especially if finances are challenging—to submit an application for free lunch. It may be beneficial to you as a family—and to the district overall.
The week of September 20 through September 26 is Homecoming week across the ROCORI School District. There are activities scheduled throughout the week, especially at the secondary level. The events include specific dress days, the annual Variety Show with the selection of the homecoming king and queen, competitions among the students, the Homecoming parade, the Homecoming dance, and, of course the football game.
Although it was our desire to continue the recent tradition of hosting a Saturday parade and football game, we were not able to convince our opponents to move to the Saturday schedule. So, this year, the parade and football game move back to Friday evening.