Our goal is to bring together our students, staff, families, and community members to help strengthen our community and classrooms. There are many ways to make a contribution, and we are thrilled you are considering sharing your time and talents with us.
What is Volunteers in Education?
The Volunteers in Education (ViE) program was created in 1977 and serves to enrich education in the Rochester Public Schools by making the time, talents, and expertise of parents/guardians, community members, and community businesses available to students and staff.
Rochester Public Schools encourages parents, guardians, grandparents, and community members to share their time, talents and knowledge with our students. Volunteers in our schools enrich the educational programs and strengthen our school relationships with families, businesses, and the community as a whole. The education of our students takes a community effort.
- American Indian Education Parent Committee
- Community Curriculum Council / World's Best Workforce
- Community Education Citizens Advisory Council (CECAC)
- Racial Equity Action Team
- Chair & Vice Chair Meeting
- Family and Community Engagement Committee
- Insurance Trust Committee
- Long-Range Planning Committee
- Media Services Reconsideration Committee
- PAIIR and School Readiness Advisory Council
- PTSA Area Council (Parent Teacher Student Association)
- Policy Committee
- Post-Employment Benefit Trust Committee
- REA Meet and Confer
- Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC)
- Student School Board
- Wellness Committee
The American Indian Education Parent Committee functions to ensure all Indigenous students are successful in Rochester Public Schools. Native student advocacy is accomplished by the committee in several ways. The committee works to guide the American Indian Education Program and provide oversight on the federal budget. The committee also works to partner with the school district at a board policy level.
If you are interested in joining this committee or volunteering for any of our events or activities please call (507) 328-4236 or email Dawn Bjoraker, Native American Liaison.
The Community Curriculum Council/Worlds’ Best Workforce Committee is an opportunity to have a direct impact on the quality of education that students in our schools receive. During the 2018-2019 school year, this committee will meet four times to discuss and give input on the following content areas: K-12 mathematics, 5th-grade health, and K-12 fine arts.
This committee welcomes the voice of community members, parents, staff, and students as an instrumental part of this committee.
Email Brenda Wichmann to get involved.
CECAC is a group of volunteers who care about lifelong learning and are willing to provide input regarding quality programs for children, youth and adults. Each month, CECAC review brief grant applications for innovative learning projects and determine which ones to fund. They also serve as ambassadors for Community Education in the community, sharing the great learning resources available here.
Contact: Melissa Garcia
The Racial Equity Action Team, formerly the Community Focus Team, was formed in 2018 as a School Board task force with a mission to engage all school district stakeholders in conversations about racism and its negative effects on learning. Work is occurring in outreach, data analysis, and staff support.
Contact: Amy Eich
This group is made up of the Board Chair, Board Vice Chair, and the Superintendent. It was developed to facilitate communication between the Superintendent and the Board and to develop School Board meeting agendas.
Contact: Wendy Edgar
The Family and Community Engagement Committee establishes partnerships with parents and with the community.
Their mission is to educate parents and the community about the value of parent and family involvement and to provide strategies to support these efforts throughout the Rochester Public Schools.
The Committee welcomes everyone. If you'd like to get involved, contact Melissa Brandt.
The Rochester School District’s health and dental insurance plans are governed by a Trust Document which identifies the Plan as its own entity, separate from the District. It is self-funded and operates out of an Insurance Trust Fund, also separate from the District funds.
The Insurance Trust Committee is the body that is responsible for the financial stability of the Trust Fund. While the District’s financial status is of concern to the Insurance Trust Committee, decisions made for the Plan cannot be influenced by this. The Committee is made up of an appointed School Board member, a designee of the Superintendent, two community representatives and one appointed Rochester Education Association member.
Contact: Becky Perlich
The Long-Range Planning Committee of the School Board meets to review data like enrollment projections and to make plans for accommodating the physical spaces that will serve students many decades into the future. The committee ultimately makes a recommendation to the full School Board to pursue additional land purchases or facilities referendums when appropriate.
The right to challenge educational materials used in the Rochester Public School District is addressed in policy number 606. Any member of the Rochester community has the right to discuss, debate, and challenge educational materials they believe are inappropriate for use in our schools. These materials include textbooks, library books, AV media, Internet resources and other materials.
When a concerned party raises a concern about a curriculum resource, the person receiving the concern may make no commitments regarding the concern and treats the concerned party courteously and confidentially. The concerned person is directed to the building principal.
The principal ascertains whether the request is on the behalf of an individual, in which case an Alternative Instruction Plan is developed with the teacher.
When the request is to remove or add curricular material for all the students, the principal provides a letter explaining the policies and procedures and arranges a meeting including affected staff members. At this meeting the principal and staff member(s) explain the selection criteria and rationale for use of the resource. If the concerned person still wishes to challenge the material, the principal sets into motion the procedures to request reconsideration of an educational resource. The steps beyond this are laid out in policy and include review by a district committee who gathers all pertinent information and makes a decision about keeping or withdrawing the material from educational use. The use of the resource shall not be restricted during the reevaluation process.
Contact: Brenda Wichmann
The PAIIR—Parents Are Important in Rochester—and School Readiness programs have an advisory council made up of PAIIR and School Readiness participants, community professionals and staff. The Council makes recommendations for program policies, goals, objectives and tasks. We develop a source of volunteers, promote the program, and provide outreach and community relations. We assist in program evaluations and serve as advocates for Early Childhood Family Education programs in the community and Legislature.
Contact: Kris Hames
The Rochester Area Council of Parent-Student-Teacher Associations (Rochester Area Council PTSA) has been around more than 20 years with the purpose of bring members of local PTA and PTSA units together to share and learn from one another, provide leadership and other training, communicate with District representatives, and collaborate advocacy efforts.
The Policy Committee meets to evaluate recommended changes to school board policy from MSBA or administration and also completes a periodic review of all the policies of the District.
Contact: Wendy Edgar
The purpose of the Post-Employment Benefit Trust committee is to provide investment policy recommendations and investment performance reviews for Rochester Public Schools OPEB Trust.
Contact: John Carlson
The Meet and Confer Council is a forum for licensed instructional staff discussion of all educational and professional concerns in Rochester Public Schools. The representative nature of the Council allows it to approach tasks from a professional base of wide and varied experience, and the Superintendent of Schools and the School Board will consider Council recommendations. The Council has contractual obligations to discuss and take appropriate action on the following Articles of the Master Contract between the School Board of Independent School District 535 and the Rochester Education Association: Meet and Confer Council, Teacher Training, and Work Load, Preparation Periods, Class Size, Interactive Television.
The Council is meant to provide the licensed instructional staff with a way of contributing to educational decisions in the district.
Contact: John Danilenko-Dixon
Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) is a group that provides input on special education issues to its local school district. The purpose is to advise and advocate, not to decide policy.
SEAC advises our District on the development of programs and services to meet the special education needs of children and families. By sharing their unique perspective of what it is like to use these services, parents can help the District to be more effective. As a result, outcomes for students with disabilities should improve.
Why might I want to participate in SEAC?
- To help other families and children with disabilities in the District
- To support the school professionals in my district
- To learn information and skills that may help me work more effectively with the District
- To meet others with similar goals, both parents and school professionals
- To become more knowledgeable about special education
Contact: Jen Ihrke
The Student School Board Council was formed to inform the School Board of student concerns and to inform students of issues before the School Board and administration. Allow students an opportunity to share and gain ideas from peers. The School Board will utilize the Student/School Board Council when a District-wide student perspective is needed. Implement initiatives and goals in the schools based on the District’s Aims, Goals, and Measures.
Membership consists of representatives from each middle school and high school (once approved by the school principal) along other two School Board members, and the Superintendent.
Contact: Wendy Edgar
The Wellness Committee is working to create a school district that supports learning and healthy choices. The wellness school board policy is updated periodically; and this committee of parents, school staff, and the community take part in creating it to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.
Topics the Wellness Committee often discuss:
- Nutrition promotion and education
- Goals for physical activity.
- Nutrition requirements for all foods sold at school, including snacks and at school meals.
- Nutrition guidelines for foods that are not sold, but may be offered to kids (such as at classroom parties or as rewards).
Contact: Renee Conklin
GATEway is the Rochester Chapter of the Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented, a statewide not-for-profit organization that advocates for educational services for gifted and talented students.
GATEway supports academic challenge, rigor, and depth in the Rochester Public Schools and offers annual programs open to the public.
Contact: GATEway President
The Rochester Public School Foundation still is a nonprofit community foundation dedicated to raising and distributing local resources to enhance educational opportunities for students and staff. It was founded in 1988 by local citizens as an independent, not-for-profit organization that works to stimulate and financially support enhancements to the regular K–12 curriculum. They also work to strengthen the partnership among local businesses, the community and public schools.
RPSF directly engages parents, teachers and the community by encouraging innovative programs and projects that enhance the academic goals of Rochester Public Schools.
Contact: RPSF President
The Youth Commission represents a cross section of youth and adults who work with local government, businesses, and non-profit organizations to give young people in Olmsted County a voice.
For more information, or an application, contact Mary Gorfine with the Youth Commission.