Rockford Public Schools is a highly respected school district because the primary focus is on teaching and learning. In an effort to capture all that is taking place within the areas of teaching and learning, I have developed the first annual “Teaching and Learning Report”. This report will be presented annually to the Board of Education, administrators, staff and support staff. Additionally, the report will be presented to parent groups and will be available to the community. The overall purpose of this report is to reflect on the recently completed school year and to prepare for the start of the upcoming school year. As we place emphasis on teaching and learning, we understand that teaching and learning takes place before, during, and after school, and inside and outside of the classroom. As a result, the following are some of the areas of focus within the report: Student academic achievement, student behavior, student involvement in cocurricular activities, recognition of accomplishments and awards, professional development, parental involvement, district and building leadership, and identified needs and initiatives for the upcoming school year. It is our hope that we celebrate all the good things about RPS and remain committed to doing even greater things in the upcoming school year. Thank you to everyone for making RPS an exemplary school district. Ryan Kelley, Ed.D. Assistant Superintendent for Instruction
By Doug Hoogerland, Principal, Roguewood Elementary It seems that over the past few decades our legislators have become education experts who set policy based on a “more is better” philosophy when in fact they are only using a Band-Aid approach to address a deeper, systemic problem. Fact is, legislators still avoid one of the primary factors, which research has shown to present itself in multiple areas (whether it’s education, eating habitats, healthy lifestyle, financial planning or even the level of the quality of parenting), and it’s poverty and/or socio-economic status. It’s right in front of us. Nevertheless, “The Elephant in the Room” is avoided and discounted in favor of expanding the school calendar, longer instructional days with more AND more testing, and pressuring parents to enroll their children in school settings at an earlier age. Oh, and what about this great idea legislators presented? Retaining 3rd grade students if they fail to meet the expectations on ONE test! These are a few of the most recent attempts of legislators (state and national) brandishing their new-found educational knowledge. With more and more legislative mandates attached to school funding, educators are hand-cuffed, in many respects, to comply with these requirements despite knowing there is a large body of evidence to the contrary. It wasn’t too long ago when kids in preschool, kindergarten, and even first and second grade spent a significant amount of their time playing throughout the school day constructing things with blocks, drawing or creating imaginary worlds all on their own, and then sharing with classmates. More and more, this practice and these activities are being abandoned for the teacher-led instruction used in the upper grades. The idea of starting sooner seems like the obvious fix to the legislators (add to it the idea of structuring every aspect of a child’s learning). What’s lost is an essential component to their development. Kids need to learn to endure, to control attention, to control emotion, and construct thoughts and ideas in a natural, uncontrived setting. Early on, they learn these things through play. Scientists have come to understand much more about how children learn. From birth through adolescence, most kids younger than 7 or 8 are better suited for active exploration. When educators are mandated to provide an educational […]
By Dan Zang, RHS Principal Mrs. Kreager, Board of Education President… “It is with great honor that I present to you the Rockford High School graduating Class of 2015. This class represents 595 graduates that have found individual and group success in their time at Rockford High School. They have excelled first and foremost in the classroom. They have left a great impression in the areas of fine arts, community service, and cocurricular activities. Their accolades and leadership have made us all very proud!” To the parents attending that evening: “Congratulations to each of you. We are so very proud to share this milestone with you! I am so very proud of this collective group of young adults and I can only imagine the pride and joy you are experiencing at this very moment. These young men and women will soon take flight – continue to grow – continue to make you even prouder than you feel this evening. I know it seemed just like yesterday you were packing their lunch boxes for the first day of Kindergarten. On behalf of the staff at Rockford High School and Rockford Public Schools, thank you for allowing us the opportunity and great fortune to work with your children; it has been a true pleasure.” To the graduates: “In a very short while you will exit this arena one last time as a graduating class and a Rockford High School senior. As you sit waiting to walk across this stage, I want to congratulate each and every one of you on successfully making it here this evening. Each of you took varied paths to make it here and we celebrate that you have arrived and have accomplished much, although we know your story is yet untold and will take a new direction. Your launch begins this evening; take these diplomas, make differences, and soar!! “During the Honors Convocation, the tradition continued at Rockford High School of presenting our students heading into a military commitment post-graduation with a Red, White, and Blue Freedom Cord. Those seniors that were wearing the Freedom Cords were asked to stand and be recognized by their classmates and the audience. Freedom Cord recipients remained standing and were joined by those in the audience […]
by Katy VanCuren, Associate Principal, Rockford High School On May 27th, Seniors at Rockford High School had an opportunity to go back in time. District, charter, and parochial schools took part in the first ever Senior Parade. Students who signed up were treated to a cookout first, followed by boarding busses and traveling back to their elementary schools. Once students arrived in the buildings they participated in a variety of activities, including reading with students, helping at recess and lunch, and even offering up advice to the 5th grade class on what to expect as they enter middle and high school. Teachers were excited to see the graduates and discuss their plans for the future. They were surprised at how little these young adults had changed in the past seven years with many not even needing name tags to identify their former students. Elementary students were equally as excited to see the graduates. Many were treated like royalty as they walked through the building, helping in the lunch room, and throwing footballs at recess. One senior excitedly said, “I was surprised at how fun this event was! I was excited to see a few of my former teachers but never expected the reaction from the kids, especially the little kindergarten and 1st graders. I think walking through the halls in our cap and gown sent a good message to all of the elementary students.” A big Thank You to all of the schools who helped to plan this fun-filled event. After a successful year one, plans are already in the works for the class of 2016’s parade.
By: Tom Hosford, Principal, Rockford Freshman Center The Rockford community is in the final phase of completing another wonderful and successful school year! Through hard work, sacrifice and determination, many Rockford students, staff, administrators and schools have received state or local awards and recognition. Rockford Public Schools has earned many awards over the years, including every building being a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, as well as each building earning a straight “A” from the Michigan Department of Education’s EdYES! Report Card process. Also, in past years, our district has demonstrated Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and several schools were recognized by the State of Michigan as a “Reward School” based on high achievement. This year, our district was recognized by AdvancED, an international organization that conducts rigorous, on-site external reviews of PreK-12 schools and school systems, as “…earning the distinction of accreditation!” We definitely have a lot to be thankful for. Through all the successes and positive experiences Rockford Public Schools has enjoyed over the last few years, there is one underlying theme that should never go unnoticed: the incredible support from our parents. This support comes in many different forms, such as: helping students with their homework or studying for tests, volunteering for various educational or cocurricular committees, or staying involved with the school through the various Parent/Teacher Organizations/Associations, Parent Advisory Committees, or Booster Organizations. Research proves that the more a parent is involved with their child’s education, the more successful that child will become in school. You cannot find a better example of this than right here in Rockford. As an educator, I see firsthand the positive impact parents make, not only for our individual students, but for our entire school system as well. On behalf of the entire Rockford Public School system, I would like to thank all of our parents for their constant support. Only through consistent parental involvement can we continue our tradition of excellence. Enjoy the end of the school year and all the festivities that come with it!