School Beat

School Beat – August 20, 2009

August 20, 2009 // 0 Comments

What makes a good coach by TIM ERICKSON  Director of Athletics Rockford High School As I pass by the students each day, many of them greet me with, “Hey Coach!” or, “What’s up, Coach E?” Although I have not actually called the plays or paced the sidelines for several years, I still do some coaching—but now, instead of coaching the players and teams, I am honored to coach the coaches. So what makes a good coach? Each year we receive thousands of perceivers completed by our athletes and parents to help assist me in evaluating the coaching staff. Although all coaches receive some positive—as well as some negative—feedback, there are some characteristics that stand out in our most effective coaches. A successful coach understands how to communicate with players in a way that gets results. The goal of coaching is to guide, inspire and empower the athlete to realize and develop his or her potential. The following is a list of some of the common characteristics of our most effective coaches: Has Good Communication Skills—An effective coach knows how to explain drills and plays so that all team members can understand the directions. In addition, and perhaps even more importantly, effective communication skills include being a good listener. Good coaches seek out feedback from their players and parents. Is Respected—The effective coach leads by example. A good coach follows the same rules which he/she expects of the players. Therefore, a coach who wants respect also needs to show respect; a coach who expects players to remain positive needs to display a positive attitude; and a coach who wants athletes to listen needs to listen to the players. Athletes need to follow a reasonable set of rules both on and off the field. Effective coaches handle violations in a prompt and fair manner while being consistent with all athletes. Knows the Sport—A great coach has a deep understanding of the sport, from the fundamental skills to advanced tactics and strategy. Coaches may have experience playing, but not all former players make good coaches. Coaches must plan for the season and each practice. They need to know and understand the rules. Even the most experienced coaches must continue to learn and develop new training techniques. Attending coaching clinics […]

School Beat – August 13, 2009

August 13, 2009 // 0 Comments

by RYAN KELLEY, Ed.D. Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum If you are the parent of a high school student, you are aware that the State of Michigan has increased the number of courses that are required to graduate—the new requirements are known as the Michigan Merit Curriculum (MMC). Among these new requirements are four years of math, four years of English, three years of social studies, and three years of science, including geometry, algebra II, and chemistry/physics. With the addition of these requirements, many being in the core subject areas, there will obviously be a reduction in the number of elective courses available to our students. Additionally, with the increased rigor of many of the requirements, there is a fear across the state that the dropout rate may skyrocket. As a result, many schools have begun to study alternative master schedules. Rockford High School decided to implement the trimester schedule, the goal being that we wanted a schedule that would provide students the best opportunity to be successful with the MMC, still be able to take relevant electives courses, and allow every student to be pushed to their personal best. To determine the effectiveness of the schedule, the following components were to be studied on an annual basis: attendance, behavior, grade-point average, standardized test scores, course failure rates, graduation rate, college admission data, and survey results from students, parents and teachers. The data collected for the first year has been encouraging. We have maintained and/or improved in every measurable area—attendance, behavior, grade-point average, ACT scores, course failure rates, graduation rates, etc. Also, the following survey results indicate that most of the parents, students and teachers are pleased with the trimester schedule: • Over 91% of the students found the additional elective courses to be valuable. • The majority of the students found no change in the amount of homework. • Of the students who had a preference, 70% prefer the trimester schedule. • Nearly all teachers agree that our students must be able to take elective courses and still meet the MMC requirements. • Of the teachers who had a preference, 61% prefer the trimester schedule. • Of the parents who had a preference, nearly 60% prefer the trimester schedule. In summary, “thank you” to the […]

School Beat – August 6, 2009

August 6, 2009 // 0 Comments

Audio, visual enhancements to be installed by PETER YOUNG Director of Technology Rockford Public Schools Students learn better when teachers support a variety of learning styles. To provide that opportunity for teachers, multi-media projectors and sound amplification systems will be installed this summer in classrooms to enhance the visual and audio learning experience. These classroom enhancements are made possible by the funds provided by the millage renewal bond from the spring of 2008. Currently, a teacher’s computer screen is projected onto a 32” TV monitor mounted in the corner of most classrooms. These are being replaced with new ceiling mounted multi-media projectors that can project whatever is on the teacher’s computer onto a large eight-foot screen. The new projectors will also include a sound system that will amplify whatever audio programs are being used on the teacher’s workstation. This will allow all students to see and hear what is being shown from all corners of the room. Projectors can be used in many ways to share information with students. They can encourage group participation by projecting live video of experiments or lab work, or by viewing image-intensive websites suitable for class discussion, or allow a student to display their own presentations to the rest of the class. These multimedia projectors are perfect for this generation’s visually oriented youth because they help make abstract concepts easier to understand and remember. In addition to the projector installation, all classrooms from kindergarten through eighth grade will be receiving classroom audio technology systems. With this new technology, the teacher wears a wireless microphone that is connected to a sound amplification system, which allows his or her voice to be heard evenly throughout the classroom above other background noise. There are many benefits to this for both teachers and students. While not actually making the classroom louder, the teacher can use a quieter tone of voice and still be heard and understood, while not getting fatigued by the end of the day. The bottom line is that both students and teachers benefit by both hearing and being heard during instruction time. Both of these new technologies are exciting innovations in teaching tools that will provide an improvement in student attention and participation, enthusiasm and motivation for learning, and ultimately increasing […]

Go green!

July 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

by BOB SIEGEL Principal, Valley View Elementary Being a Michigan State University (MSU) alumni and HUGE fan of the Spartans, when I first heard the phrase, “GO GREEN!” I instinctively shouted out loud, “GO WHITE!” (Green and White are MSU’s school colors—in case you missed the NCAA basketball tournament.) This past fall, Valley View Elementary School, along with other schools in Rockford, focused on educating our students about  the importance of protecting our environment on our “one and only” planet Earth! At Valley View, teachers Nancy Berg (fourth grade) and Brad Davison (fifth grade) invited fourth- and fifth-graders to be leaders of this effort by joining our school’s newly created “Green Team”—a hands-on experience at helping safeguard Mother Earth. What started out as a simple group of students looking to engage in fun activities under Nancy and Brad’s leadership, became a group very serious about their efforts and highly organized. The experience culminated in the reception of the “Green Award,” given by the Kent County Intermediate School District. Valley View’s upper-elementary students truly embraced the concepts of conservation and recycling to the point where they gave up recesses to organize their tasks. A “tree-hugger” I am not, but one can no longer overlook the need to be conscious of the environment around us! As a leader of future leaders, it’s incumbent upon us as educators—and parents—to teach our children the importance of considering how and what we USE, from material goods to electronic devices. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned as a parent and educator, it’s that whatever we place a high priority and focus on is what our children will grow up to place importance on when they are adults. The way that I view this topic is analogous to how we should treat our bodies. We get ONE shot at taking care of our earthly “temples,” as the Greeks used to say. If we mistreat our human bodies by eating poorly, failing to exercise, and abuse chemicals, the result will probably not be a long and prosperous life. Unfortunately, once our body begins to malfunction, we do NOT get to trade it in for a new one! The same goes for “Mother Earth!” I’m not sure we’ll ever truly know the extent […]

Find quality time in the summer

July 23, 2009 // 0 Comments

by SHARON WELLS Principal, Parkside Elementary School  My college roommates live in several different states and we try our best to see each other at least once a year. As we cram our time together into a short weekend in a central location, we all rush to share the latest events of our lives, from family news to updates on our jobs and interests. We joke with each other that “it’s all about me” as we try to quickly fill each other in on the past year’s experiences before someone interrupts with their own chapters to share. While we may be focused on sharing about ourselves momentarily, our ultimate goal is to listen and appreciate each other’s lives, and learn from our unique experiences and approaches to life. One thing that stands out about our brief reunions is how everyone values the time spent together. One roommate always brings along a token gift to remind us of our college days, or of past trips together. Many of these items adorn the desk in my office to keep these memories alive as I go through my daily routines. Another roommate always takes the time to send handwritten notes when we return from our visits to emphasize how much it meant that we were able to relive our “dorm days” and spend quality time catching up. The use of e-mail, texting, and cell phones is great for in-between visits, but nothing can replace that time where we laugh uncontrollably about our college antics, cry about the recent loss of a parent, or share advice about how to deal with our children in their various stages in life. As your families spend time away from school this summer, my hope is that you find that quality time with friends, neighbors and family. Initiate those brief but powerful reunions with special people in your lives. Maybe you have a former child care provider who impacted your kids’ lives, who you can thank now that the kids are growing up. Perhaps a neighbor who moved away would love to be invited back to the neighborhood for a visit. Some cousins you haven’t connected with in a while may appreciate some time with family. Visit a former place of worship. Take […]

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