Rockford Public Schools is developing healthy kids

Executive Director of Special Services

As Rockford Public School employees, we are faced with transporting, feeding, and teaching students that are dealing with trauma or crisis on a daily basis. We work with students that have a mental or terminal illness, have experienced a tragic or expected death of a family member or friend, have an unstable home life, have been physically or emotionally abused, are bullied, are homeless, or have contemplated or attempted suicide.

As a result, our district and elementary and secondary buildings have done multiple things to educate and inform our students on adolescent pressures and the importance of taking care of each other. Over the past several years our district has provided activities such as small group counseling, student leadership groups, building wide initiatives, guest speakers and assemblies, bully prevention training, and the implementation of Capturing Kids’ Hearts district-wide.

These activities and the continued crises that the district has faced over the years have inspired the district crisis team to continue what has been developed by the district and building administrators. Therefore, the crisis team which is comprised of K-12 building administration, counselors, social workers, and psychologists, has launched the Developing Healthy Kids Campaign which has been designed to con-

tinue to address and educate our students, families, staff and community on relevant issues plaguing our youth today.

For the 2012/2013 school year, the Developing Healthy Kids Campaign entails three major activities. The Rockford Public Schools Community Education and Prevention Series will offer students, staff and parents the opportunity to hear area experts speak about multiple topics plaguing our youth today.

Additionally, all of our 6-12th grade students will be attending an assembly where Eric Hipple, a former Detroit Lion, will speak on the importance of being mentally and physically healthy. Eric provides a very personal message due to his lifelong struggle with depression and the tragic death of his son by suicide when he was a freshman in high school.

Lastly, we have partnered with the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan. They will be teaching the “Live, Laugh, Love and Be Nice” curriculum to our freshman and will be working with a leadership group at the high school to expand the “Be Nice” message to the high school as well.

The Community Education and Prevention Series is listed below. We are asking for parents, students, and community members to attend this very im-

portant series. The series will be held in the Rockford High School auditorium, is open to all community members and families, is free of charge and registration is not required.

September 19, 2012 -6:30-8:00 pm

Adolescent Depression – Signs, Symptoms and the Importance of Treatment
Presented by Jim Bottenhorn – MA, Director of PHP and Outpatient Services at Forest View Hospital

October 10, 2012, 6:30-8:00 pm
Suicide Prevention

Presented by Christy Buck, Executive Director, Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan

January 17, 2013, 6:30-8:30 pm
Electronic Safety in the 21st Century – Texting and Driving, Sexting, and the Importance of Internet Safety
Presented by Kathy Ribbens, Trauma and Burn Education, Outreach and Injury Prevention at Spectrum Health, Amy Bercher, Kent County Health Department and Nic Bottomly, LMSW, Therapist, 17th Circuit Court Family Division

March 26, 2013, 6:30-8:00 pm Teenage Drug and Alcohol Abuse – Signs and Symptoms of Use and Abuse from an Expert and Parent Perspective
Presented by Mark Thomson, Director of Special Projects at DA Blodgett St. John’s

April 30, 2013, 6:30-8:00 pm
Adolescent Anxiety, Signs Symptom and the Importance of Treatment Presented by Gordon Greer, LMSW, Forest View Hospital

The Developing Healthy Kids campaign will take all of our support, compassion, patience, acceptance, and guidance and will make a lasting impact on all of our students at Rockford Public Schools.

For questions on the Developing Healthy Kids Campaign, please contact Kirsten Myers, Executive Director of Special Services at or at 863-6326.











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