Dr. Michael Shibler
Superintendent of Schools
Dear Rockford Community:
In last October’s Rampage, I wrote an article called “Academics vs. Athletics,” which included specific examples demonstrating that academics (teaching and learning) is RPS’ number one priority. I received more comments from the general public regarding that article than any previous article in the past 24 years. Thank you!
Before I follow through on the importance of co-curricular opportunities for our students, I want to add one more piece of evidence that validates RPS placing academics at the top of our priority list. On October 30, 2012, I received a letter from The College Board’s Midwestern Regional Office in Chicago congratulating RPS for the following recognition:
On behalf of the College Board, I am pleased to once again congratulate Rockford Public Schools as one of 539 school districts in the nation recognized by the College Board with a place on its AP District of the Year Awards: 3rd Annual Honor Roll for opening AP classroom doors to a significantly broader pool of students, while maintaining or improving the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher. This email serves as authorization for your district to include the credential of being named a 2012-2013 AP Achievement District in your web and print district profiles and other materials that highlight recognitions, honors, and distinctions earned by your district.
All of our K-12 teachers, administrators, support staff, Board of Education, parents, community, and especially our students, are to be recognized for this important academic recognition. At Rockford, our mission statement of “quality community, quality schools, together building a tradition of excellence” is more than words. Congratulations!
Now, to the importance of co-curricular experiences for our students. In Rockford, we do not call drama, music, community service or athletics “extra-curricular” because they are not “extra.” We call these opportunities “co-curricular” because the importance of these activities for the student relative to life success is near that of academic (curricular) experiences.
All of us who had the good fortune to participate in co-curricular activities while in school know the long-term lessons those experiences taught us. Long after the successes or failures are forgotten, the keys to a successful adult life remain – perseverance, courage, passion, wisdom, resiliency, hard work, goal setting, team building, the pursuit of excellence, etc. – and will transcend into careers, family, life, avocations, community service, and on and on…
Our students have continuously participated in many co-curricular activities of their choice. In fact, 80 percent of our middle and high school students participate in a co-curricular activity. This results in a strong sense of accomplishment for these students personally and a strong sense of community pride for all of us. For example:
Our musicals, drama productions, holiday concerts, etc., have been compared to college-level quality
Our marching band recently finished 19th in a national competition held in Indianapolis
Our multi-media students have won numerous awards, including our television production program which has earned five High School TV Station of the Year Awards
Our art students are consistently recognized for their work and receive scholarships to advance their studies
Our Odyssey of the Mind (OM) teams consistently win state and world awards
Our athletic teams have earned 40 state championships in 17 different sports since the early 1990’s
Our student community service organizations are lauded throughout the region and state for their many successes in making life better for others
In conclusion, I believe without a doubt that our students have available to them outstanding academic and co-curricular opportunities that produce very good results for our children, schools, and community.
As always, feel free to contact me at 863-6557 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns. Thank you.