Get Involved

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. 

Adult volunteer having a conversation with a preschool boy

Below you will find a list of the committees at Rochester Public Schools, focused on Community, with a brief description of their focus and work. If you have interest in learning more, please follow the contact information under the committee.

Community Education Citizens Advisory Council (CECAC)

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. Minnesota Statute requires Community Education Advisory Councils to meet at least four times per year.  Rochester Public Schools – Community Education Citizens Advisory Council (CECAC) meets monthly from October through May, typically at Northrop Community Education Center.

CECAC members represent the views of a variety of constituencies (e.g., students, parents, senior adults, service organizations, businesses) as well as their individual experiences in the community. One key role of CECAC is to review Council Project Funds applications from local organizations. Members also commit to becoming knowledgeable about Community Education programs and services, sometimes auditing classes for the purpose of learning about programs and providing feedback to program coordinators.    

On an annual basis, CECAC evaluates its representation and seeks additional members where more representation is needed. To become involved, email our office to request a membership application. 

Council Project Funds

Council Project Funds are to be used for projects that support learning experiences for the general community and align to Community Education's mission of building better futures. 

How to apply for a grant:

A completed application form is required to be considered for a grant. Your application should not exceed three pages.  The deadline for submission is the third Wednesday of each month, September through April, for consideration at the next month’s meeting.  The Council Executive Committee will review your completed application, with final action by the Community Education Citizens Advisory Council membership.  The Council meets monthly.  A representative of your organization should plan to attend this meeting in order to present the request and answer any questions that the Council may have.  The Council secretary will call to schedule your presentation.

Grants are awarded on a one-time basis, per project, with a $1000 maximum.  Any grant money awarded will be reimbursed to the agency after submittal of an invoice for approved expenses.

In addition, all requests should meet the following requirements:

  • The requesting organization must be non-profit or not-for profit.
  • Grant fund projects should serve residents primarily in the greater Rochester area.
  • The proposed project must meet a unique need in the community.
  • Funds are to be used for an educational project and not generally for tangible goods or ongoing operational expenses. A request for funding of tangible goods or operational expenses must show how the expense specifically supports the proposed educational project.
  • Grant funds are not intended for K-12 classroom activities.
  • Funds are generally not to be used for field trips, salaries, travel expenses or food. However, a case may be made for one or more of these when they are integral to the program.
  • All proposals must state how success will be measured. Reports are to be submitted after completion of the project.

What to include in your grant:

In a narrative not to exceed three pages, please respond to the following:

  • Agency/School Requesting funds
  • Amount Requested (not to exceed $1,000) 
  • Contact Person
  • Mailing Address
  • Phone
  • Email Address
  • Project Title (indicate if this is a new project, or an existing project)
  • Briefly describe your agency, its funding, purpose, and staff
  • Project overview to include:
  1. Purpose of the project, reason you are applying for funds, and description of how the residents of greater Rochester will benefit.
  2. Activity/procedure (please include time lines, beginning and ending dates).
  3. If you are requesting funding for a speaker, please include information about the speaker (a short bio and an overview of the presentation – may attach separately).
  4. What is the expected result?
  5. How will you measure your success?
  6. How does your project fulfill a unique need in the community?
  7. How will the project remove barriers to participation of un-served or underserved populations?
  8.  What other sources of funding have you received or explored?
  9. Budget- please include: a) an itemized budget of the project (maybe a separate attachment) b) list all sources of funds

Email grant applications to: Melissa Garcia 

Or, mail/drop off applications:

ATTN: Melissa Garcia
Northrop Community Education Center
201 8th Street NW
Rochester, MN 55901

Family and Community Engagement Committee

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.

PAIIR and School Readiness Advisory Council

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.

Our Mission:
Strengthening families with young children through education and support.

The PAIIR Early Childhood Family Education program is based on the following values:

  • Responsiveness:  The PAIIR program seeks to serve all families with young children.  To this end every effort will be made to serve families of all cultural and economic backgrounds in IDS 535.
  • Uniqueness of the Individual:  We believe that every child, every parent, and every parent/child relationship is unique.  Therefore, we will provide a variety of learning experiences in order to provide support for the parent to discover his/her own way to parent his/her own child.
  • Local Involvement and Control:  The input of citizens from all segments of the community is necessary to ensure that local early childhood and family education needs are being met.  Local involvement and control also fosters interagency cooperation and communication in providing services to families. 
  • Comprehensive Approach:  We believe families are best served by providing programs that provide opportunities for parent and child to learn together and separately.  Therefore, most PAIIR classes provide both a parent/child activity time as well as a time for parent and child to each be with their peers. 
  • Quality:  PAIIR believes quality services are sustained through ongoing program evaluation and the provision of training for council and staff members.  All professional staff meet necessary license requirements as mandated by the state. 

Contact: Kris Hames