School Beat

School Beat

September 3, 2015 // 0 Comments

Dear Rockford Community: I hope you and your family had a relaxing summer, and are now looking forward to an exciting 2015-16 school year. The RPS’ Board of Education and staff are looking forward to providing all of our students with an exemplary education, supported by the active involvement of our students, staff, parents and community. Recently the Detroit Free Press identified Rockford as one of the top ten (out of 100) communities in Michigan to raise a family.  RPS played an important role in that ranking!  We are proud of what we have collectively accomplished, and we also know there is much more work that needs to be done. We continue to thank you for supporting the May, 2014 bond issue, which generated $76 million for a multitude of capital improvement and construction projects. They include $11 million for school safety initiatives, $15 million for instructional technology improvements, and the remaining $50 million for building construction and renovations. As we begin the 2015-16 school year, you will be pleased to know that our promise to create a safer school environment for our students has been initiated.  This fall, our schools’ entryways will have new vestibules, which will add another layer of protection for students, staff, and community. In addition, a road has been constructed between the high school and the freshman center, which will reduce school bus traffic on Kroes Rd. Extensive planning will continue this school year as staff pilots new technologies for teaching, learning, and information management. The purchase of new technology is a challenging task, simply because innovations occur so rapidly, requiring that we purchase the most reliable technology that will be relevant into the foreseeable future. In conclusion, while the projects included in the $76 million bond issue are very important, and should be concluded by the 2017-18 school year, our number one priority will always be the education of our 8,000 students. We are proud of the educational and cocurricular opportunities available to our students and community, but we also know that we can do better. The RPS’ Board of Education and staff are committed to an educational model of continuous improvement, defined by RAMS IX (Rockford Action Model for Success). I encourage you to contact me at 863-6557 or with your […]

Managing Your School Lunch!

August 20, 2015 // 0 Comments

By John Henry, Director of Food Service Rockford Public Schools recently added a new school lunch payment system for paying and controlling school meal accounts. This new system, from a company called Meal Magic Corporation, allows parents direct control in managing their child’s account. Through a user-friendly link on our website called, parents are now able to manage their child’s lunch account. Some of the new features include: Direct online entry for the free/reduced Family Meal Applications Payment for meals Check balances View history Transfer money between students Set credit limits One of our goals with this system is to take the hassle out of paying for your child’s meals. This site has all the Information in one place. In addition, with deposits over $50.00, it is free to use for both electronic checking and credit card. All this, combined with the new point of sale machines at each school that significantly speed up the serving lines, make it a better experience for our students.  

Getting Ready for the 2015-2016 School Year!

August 13, 2015 // 0 Comments

Once again for the 2015-2016 school year, Rockford Public Schools will use an electronic system for verification of student information. Parents will enter changes to demographic information by utilizing an electronic system by means of Family Access. In August, parents will receive an email outlining the steps to be taken to review and submit any changes to phone numbers and other relevant information. As we have the last few years, parents will be notified electronically of their child’s upcoming placement for the 2015-2016 school year. The placement notification will be sent electronically to all elementary families around the third week of August and will provide the name of your child’s teacher and room number for the upcoming school year. Due to regulations under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), we cannot provide the names of other students in your child’s class. Note: For families who do not have access to the internet, the computer lab at your child’s school will be open a couple of days prior to the start of school. We highly encourage all families to set up a Family Access account, as it is the district’s main source of communication to parents for progress reports, attendance, emails regarding building events, etc. Please visit our website at and click the Family Access link (upper right-hand side) and then click the Question and Answer link. The Frequently Asked Questions will pop up. “How do I get an account for Family Access?” (Question 4) is answered. Please feel free to contact the secretary in your child’s building for additional help in setting up a Family Access account. We appreciate your attention to this very important matter and look forward to seeing you in September to start another awesome school year!   Dr. Doug VanderJagt Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources

Rockford Public Schools Spanish Preschool

August 6, 2015 // 0 Comments

by Lisa Jacobs, Executive Director of Community Services and  Jane Downs, Director, Rockford Child Care and Preschool Services Rockford Community Services is offering two sessions of Spanish preschool this fall. This introduction to Spanish will be taught with a hands-on, Montessori approach.  In the 35 week program, students will be introduced to the Spanish language while using Montessori math, sensory, vocabulary, science and practical living materials.  The Spanish culture will also be explored through music, art, literature and movement. A Montessori environment is one in which learning experiences are offered, not imposed, in ways that will attract children’s natural interest and engage their response. The materials and lessons in the Montessori environment will naturally expose children to the Spanish words for numbers, colors and animals, which will be reinforced through games, songs and activities.  Stories and songs will be shared in both languages, which will assist in learning days of the week, months of the year, greetings and body parts. Once the basics are learned, it is possible to move on to more complex ideas. It is amazing how fast and easily children can learn Spanish! Research has shown the benefits of learning a second language range from enhanced verbal and mathematical skills to increased creativity and the appreciation of different cultures. Exposure to a second langue during the preschool years is an optimal time for learning. Between the ages of 2 ½ to 4, children experience a “sensitive period for language” during which time they have a special aptitude for acquiring language; positive effects include enhanced cognitive development, flexible thinking, listening skills and an overall understanding of language. The class will meet two days a week.  Sessions are Tuesday and Thursday from 9:15am to 11:15am, or 12:20pm to 2:20pm at the Rockford Administration Building.  This program is designed for all children, including English language learners, students with learning differences, and advanced learners. For more information or to enroll in the program, call the Child Care office at 616.863.6560, or go to  Yearly cost of the program is $1200. An informational meeting for parents will be held on Wednesday, June 24 from 6:30-7:30pm in the cafeteria at the Administration Building.    

Immersion education: the students’ perspective

July 30, 2015 // 0 Comments

By: Lissa Weidenfeller,  Principal, North Rockford Middle School Immersion education in the United States is a form of bilingual education in which native English speakers are immersed in classrooms that use another language to teach the students the district’s curriculum. The purpose of this type of education differs from traditional second language classes as students learn content through the target language. Rockford Public Schools is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Spanish Immersion program, which started in 2006. The first students in the program will be entering their sophomore year in high school. The Rockford Spanish Immersion program follows a 90/10 model and so students are immersed in Spanish instruction 90% of the time beginning in kindergarten. English instruction is slowly added to the students’ daily schedule so that by the high school level, they have one hour of Spanish instruction and the rest is in English. Three middle school Spanish Immersion students were interviewed and asked their thoughts about being educated in this non-traditional way.   What do you enjoy most about being in an immersion program? The students highlighted their favorite parts of being an immersion student, such as being able to communicate with people they never would have been able to, traveling with ease, and being part of their Spanish Immersion community. Laughing, many of the students shared how fun it was to shock Spanish speakers, because by looking at them, no one would ever think they would be fluent in Spanish. The students also shared the fact that they enjoy being able to share their knowledge by teaching their parents and friends. The main factor that all the interviews shared was the clear understanding that being bilingual would open doors for them in the future.   What do you think being educated in an immersion program will do for your future? The students all thought that being in an immersion program will help them in the future, primarily when it comes to their future careers. The students mentioned not only the benefits of being bilingual while working in the US, but having the opportunities to work internationally as well. The students also stated that being bilingual will allow them to meet and help others, translate for others, travel and understand others, […]

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