NOTES AROUND THE DISTRICT
As we are wrapping up the classroom activities for the 2014 calendar year and head into the holiday break, I would like to take some time to briefly cover several issues. Several of these issues have been addressed or discussed at recent school board meetings. I trust that you will have a wonderful Christmas holiday and an exciting New Year!
CALENDAR ISSUES IN 2015-16
The calendar for next school year has been very challenging. At present, we have two tentative, proposed calendars for the 2015-16 school year. The issue, for the most part, revolves around the late date for Labor Day, but there are some other complications as well!
In 2015, Labor Day is as late in September as it can possibly be! Labor Day falls on Monday, September 7. Because Minnesota law requires schools to start—unless there is a construction or special reason to schedule something different—after Labor Day, the first day of school would be September 8.
Our concern with a start on September 8 is that the calendar gets “condensed” to include all of the contract and student days. With a late start, the breaks and vacations during the year are forced to be shorter in duration. This also presents challenges for bad weather conditions and potential makeup days for school.
Although I don’t like to emphasize activities in relation to the school calendar, another very unusual situation occurs next school year. Because of conflicts already in place for the use of TCF Bank Stadium for the football playoffs, the high school football season starts a week earlier than normal. If school must start after Labor Day, this means that three varsity football games (out of an eight game schedule) will be played before the first day of school takes place—for some schools, it is possible that four games will already be played before school starts.
As a district, we are hoping to have the legislature make an exception, as they have in the past when Labor Day is so late, to allow an earlier school start. We do not want to begin prior to September 1, but it would be nice to start earlier than September 8.
We learned, a couple weeks ago, that Activities Director Joel Baumgarten was named as the Region 8AA Activity Director of the Year! Joel was recognized by his colleagues, the fellow Activities Directors in the Region, for this honor.
In part, the award recognizes the outstanding success of our activities program during the fall. However, the award goes beyond activity success. The Activities Directors also seek to recognize colleagues who are innovative, professional, dedicated, and passionate about their work. Joel has been very successful in his role and work in the ROCORI District, but he has also been involved in a number of conference and regional events.
Joel’s recognition means that his name is forwarded as the Region 8AA nominee for the State Activities Director of the Year award. Joel has invested some time in the last few weeks pulling together the appropriate documents and information to complete the application for the statewide honor. He will find out the results at the state Activities Director conference later this spring!
Congratulations on the recognition, Joel! Best wishes in the state process!
On Monday, December 15, School Board member Tim Lieser engaged in the final school board meeting of his tenure on the board. Tim first assumed office in November, 2007, and has served on the ROCORI School Board for a little more than seven years!
Tom Schroeder had submitted a resignation from the board at the start of the school year in 2007 and the board determined that the high vote getter in the November election would be asked to start their new term two months early! Tim was the top vote getter and assumed his position at the last board meeting in November.
Tim has had a very positive and professional influence on the school board and the ROCORI School District. His passion for students has been very evident and has been his top priority through all the decisions he has made! Tim’s tenure has been marked by a great deal of progress in the district.
Thank you for your willingness to serve on the school board, Tim! We wish you all the best as you complete your tenure and service!
Although we got a little (one day) reprieve on December 15, our transportation providers have worked with very difficult roads and travel conditions since the first snowfall on November 10. As we are all aware, for most of November and December, our roads have been slippery, ice-covered, and challenging to drive.
Despite the conditions, our drivers have done an exceptional job of bringing students to and from school as well as taking students on activity trips, field trips, and all other kinds of travel! The conditions can be very tough, but the drivers have done wonderful work in keeping students safe!
As we head into the holiday break, I want to extend a note of appreciation to our drivers and transportation providers! Thank you for your professionalism, dedication, and careful efforts!
STRATEGIC ROADMAP UPDATE
The ROCORI School Board has had several discussions about the need to update our strategic roadmap. The roadmap guides many of the decisions and processes of the district.
We initially developed and adopted the roadmap about 10 years ago. The very first roadmap highlighted what the school board wanted the district to “look like” by 2010! At the end of 2009, the board engaged in a process to update the roadmap with a vision for 2015. As we close the 2014 calendar year, it is time for us to re-examine the roadmap and set direction for the next several years.
The school board discussions have involved conversation about the process to update the roadmap. It is likely that we will choose a process to engage a broader level of district staff and community than our last revision. Given that we have been using the roadmap for almost a decade, it seems appropriate to bring together a larger cross-section of the community to talk about the expectations for the district.
We will be sharing more information about the roadmap update in the days and months ahead. Community residents interested in being part of the process should watch for additional information. We will be seeking community volunteers to engage in the roadmap discussion process.
Although I will continue with articles during the holiday break, I do want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful holiday break! Enjoy the festivities of the season and the time away from “normal routines.” I also wish you all the best as we open a new calendar year with 2015!