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RES hopes to turn donations into books

Rosemount Elementary School students go through one of their literacy lessons Tuesday morning. The school is looking for more non-fiction materials to use with students.

On Nov. 15, charity-minded Minnesotans will open their wallets for the state's annual day of giving. At Rosemount Elementary School, principal Tom Idstrom hopes that will translate into books. Lots of them.

This is the first year Minnesota Schools can participate directly in Give to the Max Day, a four-year-old effort to encourage Minnesota residents to take care of any year-end donations they want to make, and to give organizations an easy way to take contributions online. Some Rosemount schools have participated in the past through foundations, but now that the opportunity has been made more widely available, Idstrom hopes to take advantage.

RES parent Amy Sutton, who has worked with Give to the Max Day as part of her job with Hastings Family Service, brought the idea to Idstrom and helped the school approach First State Bank of Rosemount, which has agreed to donate up to $3,000 to match donations the school receives Thursday.

"It's a terrific start and a super generous gift from the bank," Idstrom said.

Idstrom hopes to collect enough donations Thursday to earn all of those matching funds. Money that comes in to RES this week will go to support expanded literacy efforts that started with assessments of students before the school year was officially under way. Specifically, Idstrom wants to provide more nonfiction materials.

"We have a lot of great instructional resources that are fiction and we engage students in fiction, which is important," Idstrom said. "But one area where we don't have a lot of instructional texts at specific grade levels is non-fiction."

It is important to expose children to non-fiction texts, Idstrom said, because much of what they will read as adults - from newspapers to email messages - is non-fiction.

There has been an increased effort districtwide to improve literacy among elementary school students.

RES has been pushing the Give to the Max Day effort among its families. Its main website is filled with an advertisement of the effort, with a link to take visitors directly to the school's page at As of Monday, two donations had already been made.

RES has also sent out notifications on its email listserv and sent materials home with students.

Donors can give money after Thursday, but there are reasons to make donations on Give to the Max Day itself. The organization behind the effort gives an hourly $1,000 golden ticket prize to an randomly selected organization that has received a donation that hour. With prizes given out separately to schools and nonprofits and only a handful of schools registered, that's a good opportunity for RHS.

"We certainly would like people to consider Rosemount Elementary," Idstrom said.

Other efforts

Rosemount Elementary is not the only local school hoping for consideration from donors. Rosemount High School is in its second year of participation in Give to the Max Day through the District 196 Foundation. Last year, the school collected about $1,400.

Donors to RHS, which is listed at under District 196 Foundation DBA Rosemount High School, can choose whether they want their donation to go to academics, athletics or the arts. They can also choose to give a donation in honor of a specific teacher.

"We love to let our teachers know they've been recognized," RHS assistant principal Kim Budde said.

There are large projects in all three areas that the school is saving money for. In the arts, money will go to a display for the school's legacy award.