Your tax dollars… thank you! by CAROL HILLMAN Board of Education Trustee Every school year, the staff for the Rockford School District begins with a kick-off morning at Rockford High School. Support and teaching staff, along with administration and the school board, congregate in the auditorium and a motivating, fun-filled, informative event occurs. It’s a super way to get the engines running again on behalf of the students for the school year. It is planned in such a way that the entire staff looks forward to the morning, rather than feeling like “just one more meeting.” A statistic raised this year by Dr. Ryan Kelley sparked the writing of this article. Although the expansion of our athletic fields seems to be the most visible improvement to our district due to the bond passage in 2008, it represents the smallest amount of money devoted to improvements to our district. Only 13% of the money you voted to support our district’s constant desire to improve is supporting the wonderful additions to the athletic facilities for the school system. Another 17% of the bond is devoted to technology enhancements for our staff and students. Your tax dollars are a huge morale booster for our teachers to begin this school year. What a point of pride it is for them to have teaching materials like projector systems and audio enhancements that stimulate them, and allow the students to become more computer/technology savvy as well. Thanks to you, the tax supporter for education in our district, this is a reality in most of our buildings this year, and in all by next fall. The majority of the community supported the bond passage, of which 70% is devoted to new classrooms and renovations for the existing buildings that serve this district. It’s the “meat and potatoes” of what we need to continue to meet the needs of the students we serve. I invite you to take a personal tour of the district and, yes, look at the great new fields, but look a little deeper (like in the back) and discover the additions being built. One example alone—Cannonsburg Elementary, which is basically doubling in size—is so exciting to see. You deserve a bird’s-eye view of your tax dollars at work. Not […]
Keeping our schools safe and secure by CHARLIE BROWN Director of Security Rockford Public Schools As a result of the recent national news stories about school safety, we want to assure you that the security and well-being of our students and staff are of the most importance at Rockford Public Schools (RPS). Staff and students practice and train regularly for a variety of simulated crisis situations. Our district works with local fire and law enforcement organizations to prevent, prepare and respond to emergency situations. Parents, students and the community that we serve are also important and valued partners in school safety by helping watch for suspicious activity and issues of concern and reporting them promptly. Please report any concerns to your school administrator or local law enforcements. Reports can also be made anonymously to Silent Observer at 1-866-774-2345. Silent Observer can now receive text messages from those wishing to do so. Simply text “Tip 138” plus your message to CRIMES (274637). The keyword “Tip 138” must appear on the first line of the text message in order to reach Silent Observer. Drugs, weapons, fights, vandalism and larceny—the consequences for students involved in these activities are severe and can include expulsion and prosecution. In addition to prompt and appropriate reports of concerns and rumors, we also encourage families to monitor student Internet use, and to remind students that information posted on social networking sites is public. It can be a cause for concern and may have legal consequences.
Freshman Center now on Twitter by DOUG VANDERJAGT Principal, Rockford Freshman Center With the information age all around us, keeping our parents and other community members informed about school building news is very important. Students are actively using all the technology they can get their hands on. Texting, blogs, Facebook, MySpace, and now Twitter—people all over are keeping in contact with world around them. Finding the best method to keep staff informed can be difficult. As Rockford Public Schools adapts to the new technology, the Freshman Center introduces its Twitter page to keep parents up-to-date on the latest news and happenings at the ninth-grade campus. With the creation of FreshmanCenter on twitter.com, the administration will circulate key messages already posted on the district’s website, in e-newsletters, blogs and videos. We will now be able to communicate such things as school closings or delays and post reminders about scheduled calendar changes. As a popular free social networking and micro-blogging service, Twitter enables users to send and read each other’s updates, known as “tweets.” These tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters, displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to other users, known as followers, who have subscribed to them. The service is free over the Internet, and we are inviting all Rockford community members to join Twitter and add the Freshman Center as a site they would like to follow. Academic awards, technology updates to the classrooms, marking-period timelines, and other everyday building activities will be posted. The site, www.twitter.com/FreshmanCenter, is now up and running to provide you with the latest in curriculum, construction projects, and calendar information.
Help your child build for success by JULIE DEVEREAUX Principal, Meadow Ridge Elementary A good part of success in life is to be able to set goals and then be able to attain them. During a lifetime, goals will vary from being able to tie your shoes to creating a new medical cure that will affect millions. As a parent, you have the power to teach your child the important components necessary to set goals and reach them. As we begin another school year, it is your choice as a parent to support your child’s learning, school year, and their success. Here are some suggestions to consider: • Let your child know that school is a priority. • Make attendance job number one. • Listen carefully and let them share school happenings every day. • Show you care and that you are interested in their learning. • Talk about what they are going to learn and how it will be important later in their life. • Encourage your child to treat studying as a daily routine. • Set a time and a place for studying to happen. • Spend a few minutes each evening looking over any paperwork that your child brings home. • Let your child’s teacher know if you can help them out, at school or home. • Communicate with your child’s teacher(s) on a regular basis. • Talk about responsibility and explain what it looks like at their age in life. As a parent, you are the most important role model for your children. Show them what that responsibility looks like in your life. By example is the strongest way to teach. Help your child think about choosing goals for home and school; write those goals down. Be sure to notice and praise when you see them working on their goals. Help and encourage your child to follow through. Talk about the things that you see them doing that will help them achieve their goals. Celebrate when goals are accomplished! Talk about how they feel when they are responsible and achieve their goals. Help them enjoy their success.
Three issues demand attention, time by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools Rockford Public Schools With the passing of each year, the summer months seem to fly by faster than in previous years even though each day of each year has the same number of minutes and hours! It is hard to believe that I have the privilege of beginning my 21st year as superintendent of the Rockford Public Schools (RPS). Where did the first 20 years go? While I realize we have together accomplished many good things for RPS kids, I also realize we have many more yet to accomplish. This summer has been very busy with many issues demanding our attention and time. In this article, I want to touch on three of those issues: bond issue projects, financial challenges, and the district’s new website. Bond Issue Projects If you will recall, the 2008 bond issue was designed to accomplish three major projects: add four to eight classrooms to six of our eight elementary schools, update instructional technology in all schools, and add 20 recreational/athletic fields throughout the school district. Many of these projects are either in the planning stages or nearing completion. For example, additional classrooms at Cannonsburg, Lakes and Roguewood elementaries are well underway. New carpeting is being laid throughout the high school—believe it or not, the high school is over 16 years old! The tennis courts at North Rockford Middle School and the high school are being replaced, and construction of athletic fields at the high school, East Rockford Middle School and Roguewood Elementary are ahead of schedule. Upgrades in instructional technology will continue throughout the summer. Comprehensive improvements to Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium took place this summer, with the installation of a multi-purpose synthetic field for use by the marching band, along with football, lacrosse, track, and other student-athletes. The new technology in athletic fields is called Mondo turf, which utilizes an environmentally friendly, bio-degradable substance called Eco-fill. The rededication of “The Ted” is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 3, prior to the Rockford-Holt varsity football game. I hope you can attend. All other 2008 bond issue projects are in the planning or early development stages. Please refer to the district’s webpage at www.rockfordschools.org for ongoing progress reports. Financial Challenges […]