A FEW NOTES
This week, I want to spend my time in the column with a few different topics. We have had a very busy fall season already with activity, events, and academic work across the district! It has been a wonderful start to the school year! The notes this week provide a brief update on a few items across the district.
ROCORI AT 50
It is hard to believe, but this school year marks the 50th year of operations for the ROCORI School District! We have looked back into the records to verify the anniversary! The records indicate that 50 years ago, the ROCORI Schools functioned as a public school district for the very first time!
As we go through the year, we are looking at a variety of ways to celebrate the anniversary. We had some conversation about 50 years at a school board meeting in August and the board felt is was important to turn to school groups, organizations, alumni and support groups to try to put more formal celebration activities into motion. We are interested in hearing from groups or individuals if there is interest in organizing or initiating some kind of anniversary event, activity or celebration.
I know, from the history book put together by first Superintendent of Schools, Bill Virant, that there were many, many steps taken in the organization of the district. The process of bringing the ROCORI School District into being was very challenging and filled with roadblocks and diversions. The description of the legislative lobbying, the efforts in working with the state Department of Education, and the local issues involved in setting the district boundaries are fascinating to review.
As we journey through the year, I am hoping to take some time to share some pieces of ROCORI history as well as update community if there are anniversary events organized.
FREE LUNCH APPLICATIONS
Although we have started the school year, it is always good to review information about the free lunch program. As you may be aware, we often refer to the structure as "Free and Reduced" lunch, but there is no longer a reduced price component. Under state and federal guidelines, students and families eligible for the program qualify for free lunch.
As a district, we would encourage any family that is struggling with the cost of school lunch to take the time to complete and submit an application for the lunch program. The process is confidential; the system is intended to accept information as parents submit the information. The information provided is compared to guidelines and standards set forth by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. The eligibility guidelines use the number of people in the family and income levels to determine who qualifies for the service.
Information related to free lunch applications and eligibility are used for a variety of purposes by the state and federal government. The number of students, and often the percentage of students across the district, who qualify for free or reduced meal status is used to determine the extent of funding and school support in a number of programs.
Federal financial and academic support programs, in particular, like the Title I, II, and III services are frequently adjusted based on the number of students eligible for free and reduced meal programs. At the state level, programs like the compensatory education funds are based on the number of students approved for free and reduced meal costs.
Any families who are struggling with the costs of school meals are encouraged to fill out the free and reduced lunch application. The intent of the program is to ensure that students have good, nutritious meals while in the school setting. Under Minnesota process, a student that qualifies for the program is eligible for free school lunches.
NOTE OF THANKS
At the end of September, we celebrated homecoming in the ROCORI School District. The week was full of activities and celebrations throughout our buildings. Friday, in particular, was loaded with events and activities capped with the football game and dance for senior high students.
Throughout the week, many parents and community member joined our students and staff in the events and activities. Many of our local businesses assisted with donations or by sponsoring parts of the events. Community members lined the streets for the parade and attendance at the football game was outstanding!
On behalf of the ROCORI School District, I want to extend a warm note of thanks to everyone who contributed to the fun and exciting homecoming events! We appreciate your support and the community engagement in our school system! Many thanks, as well, to the staff and students who were creative, energetic, and engaged in homecoming celebrations and festivities!