Rockford Public Schools exemplary, getting better

by DR. RYAN KELLEY
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum
Rockford Public Schools

A quality education is what every parent expects for their children. According to parent survey results in Rockford, our parents believe that their children are receiving a quality education. When asked, “What letter grade would you assign to the education that is provided by Rockford Public Schools?” nearly 95 percent of parents responded with either an A or a B. The national average for the combined responses of A and B is 50 percent, according to the most recent Gallup Poll.

Beyond survey results, there are other indicators that are valuable in determining the quality of a school system. For example, what do experts from “outside of the district” have to say about the school district? Rockford Public Schools (RPS) brings in many experts to assist in obtaining feedback on the effectiveness of our district. Over the past 15 years, the Michigan Department of Education and/or the U.S. Department of Education have recognized every Rockford school building as being a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

Another process that assists schools in their continuous improvement effort is the accreditation process. Accreditation assures the community that the schools adhere to high quality standards based on the latest research and successful professional practice.

Every RPS school has been North Central Accredited for many years. However, this year we are pursuing AdvancED District Accreditation. District accreditation is a powerful systems approach to improving student achievement and organizational effectiveness. No longer do individual school buildings work in isolation on their school improvement plans. Schools must work together on developing district-wide systems for improvement, while still being able to work on building-specific targeted goals.

An important step toward being one of the first districts in West Michigan to be recognized with AdvancED District Accreditation status, is the hosting of a visitation team of education experts. From March 21 to 24, RPS will host a visitation team that consists of members from Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan. They are committed to identifying our strengths, and mandated to identify areas needing growth. The goal of this process will be to make this exemplary school district even better! I look forward to providing the community with a summary of the visitation team’s assessment of RPS.

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