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JEREMY OLSON COLUMN: A tremendous start to the school year

We appear to be slightly ahead of last year in enrollment based on historical data. Enrollment continues to be a large focus for the district as we seek to increase our enrollment over the next couple of years.

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We have had a tremendous start to the school year. I had the opportunity to go from school to school and observe how students and staff interacted during the first week of school.

As I walked around the schools I was struck by the level of care that our staff has for our students. It is always exciting to see this level of positive relationship building.

Enrollment

We appear to be slightly ahead of last year in enrollment based on historical data. Enrollment continues to be a large focus for the district as we seek to increase our enrollment over the next couple of years.

Our goal is to increase enrollment by 3% over the next two years. Increasing enrollment will not only be good for our programs, but it will also help improve our financial condition and bolster our programs.

Educational benefit application

Bemidji Area Schools would like to remind parents that we are charging for lunch this year which is a change from the past two years. Over the past two years, the federal government has paid for meals for all students. This support has stopped and therefore, all families are now charged with paying for their student’s lunch.

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This will mean a potentially unexpected bill; therefore, we are encouraging parents to fill out an application for educational benefits. Families that qualify for educational benefits will receive free meals for the school year. If you qualify, not only are you helping eliminate your student’s meal charges, but you are also helping the school.

There are specific state dollars that come to schools based on how many qualified applications are received. If you are interested in filling out this application please go to www.bemidji.k12.mn.us and click on the banner “complete an application for educational benefits.”

A personal note

Earlier this month, we celebrated the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11 attack. Sept. 11, 2001, was a terrible day that was marked by so much loss and sadness. We grieved all those that lost their lives and honored the first responders who ran towards the danger to save others.

This horrific event brought our nation together. Suddenly, politics, religious divides and ideological differences did not seem to matter as much. Our identity as an American seemed to outweigh all the differences and divides within our country.

Twenty-one years later as we celebrate this solemn anniversary, it is my hope that as a country, we can once more remember that what unites us is greater than what divides us.

As you go about your day, please remember to thank first responders for their service. When danger is near, these men and women run toward the danger. I am very appreciative of the roles that our emergency responders play in our community.

If you have any questions or would like to have a further conversation about Bemidji Area Schools please contact me at (218) 407-9645 or stop by the district office at 502 Minnesota Ave in Bemidji. Go Jacks!

Jeremy Olson is the superintendent of Bemidji Area Schools. He can be reached via email at dr_jeremy_olson@isd31.net.

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