School Beat

School Beat — January 7, 2010

January 7, 2010 // 0 Comments

Health & Fitness Festival coming soon by LISA JACOBS Executive Director Rockford Community Services As we approach the New Year, for many of us this is a time to evaluate our health and fitness goals. On Saturday, Jan. 30, Rockford Community Services would like to help with this by hosting a Health & Fitness Festival. We are excited to offer families an opportunity to observe as well as participate in various fitness classes offered in the community. Also included will be informative healthy cooking demonstrations, the opportunity to visit with local businesses regarding healthy lifestyle choices, and a chance to speak with experts in health care about medical questions. This event will have several resources available in health care and healthy living for every age group. Some examples of this will be fingerprinting for the safety of younger children, speed and agility training for the serious athletes, health care screenings, glaucoma testing, alternative medicine presentations, senior living choices and more. Our goal is to bring awareness to the importance of healthy living to the community. The Health & Fitness Festival will be held at North Rockford Middle School from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. If you would like to participate, you are invited to reserve a booth. Please call the Rockford Community Services office at (616) 863-6322. We look forward to your support in making this an annual community event!

Education Blackboard — December 31, 2009

December 31, 2009 // 0 Comments

School Beat Bucket ‘fill-osophy’ helps children develop healthy self-concept by BLAKE R. BOWMAN Principal, Lakes Elementary School When I was growing up, some of my most powerful memories came each summer from the one week that I attended a church camp. I remember sitting around a campfire singing, “Fill my cup; let it overflow. Let it overflow with love.” Now I don’t sing as much anymore (and most people with ears are grateful for that), but some things never change. I still need love, encouragement, praise and affirmation as much as ever. So do the kids at Lakes Elementary. That’s why I’m thrilled that our staff at Lakes has inducted a new initiative this year inspired by the children’s book entitled “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud. A bucket represents a person’s mental and emotional health or self-concept. Many children have empty buckets through no fault of their own. Young children are dependent on others to fill their buckets. Every time you do something kind or considerate for someone, you “fill their bucket.” Lakes has become a school community defined by “bucket-filling.” Don’t take my word for it. First-grader Hailey Mize said, “Bucket-filling makes kids feel great because they have helped others!” A fifth-grader named Edward Hassebrock added, “It makes you feel good when you do something good for somebody.” Many buildings define their behavior/discipline code with a list of offenses and penalties. At Lakes, we also have a positive interaction initiative that helps us celebrate those countless kind things that we do for each other every day. Lakes students and staff will have opportunities to write, “Today, Sawyer filled my bucket by…” or, “I want to thank Jersey for filling my bucket when she…” Our halls ring every day as we champion these random acts of kindness. We all know that most behaviors are driven by a need for attention. If we pour our energies and accolades into recognizing the positive things, we are sending a clear message to our entire Lakes family: “If you want our attention, you should do something kind for someone else. You should fill their bucket!” Our staff has noticed a significant change in the building culture. “Spilling or dropping things used to result in a […]

School Beat — December 23, 2009

December 23, 2009 // 0 Comments

Rockford Public Schools’ libraries are places of opportunity by CINDY KITZROW Director of Library and Media Services Rockford libraries are the cornerstone of our school community. We are the learning hub and integral to the teaching and learning for Rockford Public Schools (RPS) students. We provide teachers and students with a full range of print and electronic resources to support their learning. The school libraries impact our students’ achievement. As the largest classroom in the building, we are the hub of activity with services to all staff, students and parents. Research shows that a well-developed library collection coupled with a qualified staff has a significant impact on students’ reading scores and technology skills. ALL our students can strive for and achieve success. Our quality collections are in print and online, as we support the curriculum and address a variety of learning needs. “Destiny” is our library catalog. It is accessible to the total school community, on-site or remotely. We are a “library without walls.” Visit for further details. Reading is a foundational skill for learning, personal growth and enjoyment. Our students develop a love for reading and literature through our library programs. All children deserve equitable access to books and information, to technology in an environment that is safe and conducive to learning. We carefully select high-interest materials and encourage lifelong readers and independent learners. The library staff’s “AAA—Access, Anytime, Anywhere” focus helps our students explore the world around them with all types of resources. We have 177,569 books and equipment housed in the libraries. Over 105,838 books were checked out in 2009. We taught over 3,600 research classes to our students. They learn how to use our online research databases. At our RPS libraries, the students learn important lifelong skills that ensure their academic success.

School Beat — December 17, 2009

December 17, 2009 // 0 Comments

The Good, the bad, the ugly by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools The Good—This fall, Rockford’s marching band took third place in the state in Division I competition. This is the strongest rating our marching band has ever earned in recent history. Congratulations! Several of our athletic teams won district and regional championships. Congratulations to Rockford’s boys water polo team, who won their seventh state title over the past 10 years. Their achievement was especially gratifying because the team was not considered a threat during tournament play. New classroom expansions, paid through the 2008 bond issue, at Cannonsburg, Lakes, Roguewood, and Valley View elementary schools are now ready for students. Planning continues for classroom additions to Belmont and Crestwood elementary schools. District-wide technology upgrades along with recreation and athletic field additions continue toward completion and within budget. Rockford’s academic and fine arts programs continue to exceed the high expectations established by staff, students and community. The successes our students experience in the classroom continue to validate Rockford’s outstanding academic programs. The Bad—Since the early 2000s, bi-partisan organizations such as the Citizens Research Council and University of Michigan economists, have been predicting that the current system to fund public education would soon be broken. Well, it’s almost 2010, and the system is on life support with barely a pulse. With the 1994 implementation of Proposal A, school districts currently receive two-thirds of their revenue through state sales and income taxes and one-third from property taxes. With Michigan’s high unemployment rate and significant downsizing of manufacturing, revenues from state sales and income taxes are below expectations, and revenue from property taxes are barely neutral, creating what is called a “structural deficit.” A structural deficit exists when revenues to fund essential services, such as police, fire and education, are less than required to maintain existing programs. Most experts will tell you that state government cannot “cut their way” out of a structural deficit and that new or expanded revenue resources must be created. Even in a severely stressed economy, Michigan lawmakers have the means to restructure the funding system for essential services. But the question still remains: “Does the will exist?” If Michigan’s current system to fund public education is broken because of the structural deficit, […]

School Beat — December 3, 2009

December 3, 2009 // 0 Comments

Student Assistance Team helps struggling students by TOM HOSFORD Assistant Principal, Rockford High School Our Rockford Public Schools take great pride in the success of our students. Our community should be proud of the numerous awards Rockford students receive for their success in the classroom. We should be equally as proud of the success and progress that our schools achieve with those students who struggle or are identified as “at risk.” Each of our schools is challenged with students who struggle in the classroom due to various reasons which create a barrier that hinders success at school. When this occurs, it is time for the Student Assistance Team to step in! The Student Assistance Team, or S.A.T., is a district-wide, building intervention program that meets on a weekly basis to hold discussions regarding students and their individual needs. This team is made up of building counselors, social workers, school psychologists, teacher consultants and school administrators. It is a valuable resource for teachers and parents to refer to when they begin to notice students struggling in the school environment. Issues such as academic struggle, a recent change in behavior, absenteeism, etc. are valid concerns that are brought to S.A.T. The mission of the S.A.T. is to investigate the situation, gather data from parents/teachers and, through collective collaboration, implement strategies and interventions. The ultimate goal is that the student will respond in a positive manner and achieve success. There are literally hundreds of proven strategies and interventions that can be implemented. If, after careful evaluation, an intervention is not working, the team will reconvene and delicately implement another. On occasion, students are affected from situations that occur outside of the school setting. The S.A.T. can be helpful in this regard as well, due to the fact that there is a network between S.A.T. and several agencies that offer a variety of services ranging from counseling, testing or family services. The important factor is that the student has constant support with proven methods. It is definitely a privilege to work with all the professionals on the team. Each member of S.A.T. truly has the passion and expertise to make a positive difference in a student’s life. If you have any questions about the S.A.T., please contact the administration […]

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