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RHS is breaking down barriers to giving

With school budgets tight and more cuts on the way, this might seem like the perfect time for Rosemount High School to break down as many barriers possible to accepting help from the public.

The school has done that, by centralizing resources for donating or volunteering at the school. But the idea isn't exactly new.

Former principal Greg Clausen first imagined what has turned into the high school's new Partner With RHS hub sometime in 2004. He asked the school's technology person to put something together. She did, but things never progressed from there.

It's back now, though, and it's significantly bigger than it was originally imagined.

The idea to revive the tool arose, predictably enough, out of concerns about budgets. RHS cut several jobs in 2010 as part of districtwide budget cuts, and with the failure of an operating levy in November more cuts are coming.

"We've been talking, with the economy being what it is and tight budgets being what they are, it might be time to move ahead," said principal John Wollersheim. "We dug it out of mothballs."

They made it bigger, too. The new hub, located under a Partner With RHS link on the school's web page,, still features volunteer opportunities and a place for teachers to post requests for volunteers. But it also features links to the RHS Benefit Fund, a program founded in recent years to support academics, arts and athletics at the school; to student fund-raisers; and to fund-raisers offered by businesses such as Target and Best Buy.

The site also provides an easy way for potential donors to see if the school is interested in what they have to give.

"For example, one of our citizens donated 100s of pairs of headphones," Wollersheim said. The school wasn't looking for headphones, but they checked them out and now RHS is well stocked for students to listen in private in the computer labs.

Wollersheim knows Rosemount residents are willing to give. Large operations like the school's marching band or Irish sports programs wouldn't operate if they weren't. The idea with the new Partner With RHS link is to make that giving as easy as possible.

The link has been up since November, and so far use has been light. Wollersheim expects it will take time for residents to learn it is there, and for teachers to discover a new tool for seeking help.

"We'll see how it goes, but I think it's a good page," Wollersheim said. "We know we've got a great community supporting us."