School Beat

Learning through travel

July 9, 2009 // 0 Comments

by MICHAEL HIBBELN, PrincipalRoguewood Elementary School With the school year behind us, summer break serves as a time to relax and regroup for many of our families and students. With all that our Rockford community has to offer, students have many opportunities to spend their summer days close to home. Perhaps it is a canoe trip down the Rogue, or a visit to one of the many parks-opportunities are all around us! Passing the days with trips to the beach, riding bikes on the White Pine Trail, or just playing outside in the yard until the stars come out is what a childhood summer is all about! Yet, with the traditional summer break, summer also provides us with the time to take those family vacations we’ve been planning and waiting for all year. By spending some part of the summer traveling, students will return home with more than souvenirs, but memories that last a lifetime. When they return to the classroom in the fall, these memories and experiences serve as a great resource to draw from when being a student. When traveling this summer, make a point to visit important historical sties with your student. Students may not be in social studies class this summer, but social studies come alive when you travel. Sometimes through travel, your students can learn much more than they would have in a classroom and also make important connections to what they studied during the year. Through travel, you might get the chance to see your child in a different light that was not evident when under the pressure of daily routines. Maybe they were always the last one getting out the door in the morning or forgetting homework. But when traveling, you might see a new side of your child’s independence. Encourage this to come out by assigning them a specific responsibility, like being in charge of the map or directions. By traveling, you take your student out of their daily environment, which in turn exposes them to how others live. With this, their cultural awareness rises. Learning about other cultures and geography is something discussed on a weekly basis at school, but nothing can expose a student to this like travel. Finally, even the best travel plans can […]

Reach for the world, read!

July 2, 2009 // 0 Comments

by CINDY KITZROW Director of Library and Media Services Each year the Rockford Public Schools’ (RPS) reading specialists and library staff have a tradition of promoting summer reading. The theme for the 2009 Summer Reading Program is “Reach the World… Read.” The primary purpose of the program is to encourage students to read throughout the summer. The students are given a goal sheet. They record the books or minutes they spend reading. The students are asked to read 10 grade/age appropriate books or spend 15 hours reading throughout the summer. Each student who completes their reading goal will be invited to participate in a special celebration when they return to school in the fall. Research and beginning-of-year scores show that children who do not read consistently over the summer lose fluency and are prone to more reading “errors” in the fall. The summer-reading effect on student achievement is well-researched. The long summer breaks the rhythm of instruction which leads to forgetting and requires a significant amount of review when the student returns in the fall. Reading programs have a positive effect in showing literacy growth. Studies support the findings that those who read more know more. The culmination of our summer reading program will be celebrated with a one-day reading event. The Rockford Rotary Club is also charged to improve/increase literacy through various activity involvements. On Saturday, August 29, Rotary is sponsoring a reading celebration called “Reading Rocks in Rockford.” The Krause Memorial Library along with the RPS library staff, reading specialists and teachers are helping to plan numerous events for children of all ages. We will have Michigan authors, celebrity readers, and much more performing on the Garden Park stage. There will also be various reading activities throughout the city. The community will also help kick off the RPS K-12 fall reading program called “Pennies for Peace.” We will be reading the books Three Cups of Tea and Listen to the Wind by Greg Mortenson. “Pennies for Peace” is a service-learning program. We will be collecting pennies to help support a school in the remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We all want to share our vision to reach communities around the world to increase and improve literacy.

School Beat — June 25, 2009

June 25, 2009 // 0 Comments

Addressing teens’ cell phone use by DAN WARREN, Principal East Rockford Middle School We have arrived at a place in our lives where we are instantly connected to each other through technology. It only takes a few seconds for us to connect for a conversation with just about anyone in just about any place in the world. We are communicating through personal technology at a rate so fast that when new information actually arrives to most of the general public, it’s already old news. Not only are we easily and quickly connected to others, our technology also allows us to gather information on any topic within seconds of pushing a few buttons. Want to find out a play-by-play analysis of your favorite professional sports team? Just dial it up. Or, maybe if you have the appropriate system, you could watch it live in the palm of your hand. Arguably, the cell phone is the personal electronic device that has revolutionized our ability to easily communicate with the world. Some of us remember the days when only physicians had pagers or the bulkiness of the first mobile phones. Today, a cell phone the size of a business card is all you need to run an international business. Personal technology devices that allow us instant communication and the ability to gather information are all probably very good for us and most likely unavoidable in today’s “need to know and do” society. And I am sure these devices will become even more efficient over time and certainly increase in popularity with each citizen. Allowing students to have cell phones in school is a challenging dilemma for both educators and parents. Aside from the obvious disruption cell phone use presents in public, how do we maintain normalcy in the instructional day, while knowing that a student is in possession of a communication tool that could easily be used for various inappropriate means? There have been many court cases involving student improper use of cell phones in school settings, most involving cyber bullying and transmitting unacceptable content. Obviously, this adds another layer of student behavior schools and parents have to manage. At some point in the future, maybe the cell phone will serve as a student’s personal computer that connects seamlessly […]

School Beat – June 18, 2009

June 18, 2009 // 0 Comments

Have a safe, enjoyable summer vacation! by LAURA FEATHERSTON Trustee, Board of Education I can’t even believe it. As I write this, there are only five days of school left. It is such a trite thing to say, but it seems like just last week we had our welcome back assembly for the staff, the first day after Labor Day was fast approaching and I was rushing to Meijer to get school supplies. Last weekend, I was trying to find an open weekend on the summer calendar to get together with out-of-town friends. While I am excited for all the great things our family has planned, I was stressed out that there were only a few weekends that weren’t booked with graduation parties, camping trips and other “events.” So now I’ve made a conscious effort not to plan out every free moment and to leave some time for impromptu fun. Last-minute trips to the lake, bike rides and hikes on the trails, and just hanging out at home lead to just as great of memories as the planned out, “space reserved” and “tickets bought” events that fill the calendar. I hope everyone in the Rockford Public Schools community has a great summer. Students and families, enjoy the great weather and spending time together without the worries of schoolwork and a rigid schedule. Staff, I hope you get some well-deserved rest and relaxation, and I look forward to seeing you next fall. Construction crews who will be busy making significant changes to all the sites around the district, well, I don’t want you to relax, so keep up the good work! And to the 2009 graduates, I wish you all success in whatever path you are headed. September 8 will be here quickly, and many of us will be back into the school routine before that. So make it a great break, and no matter how you spend it, be safe and capture lots of memories.

School Beat – June 11,2009

June 11, 2009 // 0 Comments

Going home for summer by CHARLIE BROWN Director of Security Rockford Public Schools Going home for summer may be hard to get used to for students and parents. Your parents may want you home at a certain time. Your parents may not want you to sleep until 1:00 p.m. every day, but you feel that you deserve a break since you worked so hard during the school year. These kinds of disagreements can easily escalate into full blown fights and make summer break disastrous for everyone involved. Here is how to prevent arguments with your parents and have an enjoyable summer break. Initiate discussion-When you go home for summer break and your parents treat you like a child, ask if they have time to sit down and discuss some independence issues you are having. By having an adult conversation with them, they will realize that you are not a child anymore and should start treating you like a responsible adult. Compromise-Having an adult relationship with your parents means being able to compromise. If your parents want you home by curfew, try to bargain with them by telling them you will call when you are going to be late. If your parents let you borrow the family car, show that you appreciate their gesture by pitching in on household chores. Show respect-You should treat your parents with the same degree of courtesy as you would anyone else you are living with. That means you should pick up after yourself and turn down the volume on your radio or TV while others are sleeping. If you show your parents respect, they will more than likely treat you like an adult and allow you more privileges. Appreciate your parents’ concerns-When your parents treat you like a child and try to enforce rules upon you, they are doing it for your well-being. They want you to be safe. Even though you may not like the fact that they worry so much about you, try to understand where they are coming from. You would be worried about your parents if they weren’t home by 4:00 in the morning, wouldn’t you? Spend quality time with your parents-When you’re home for the summer, your parents want to spend time with you. Try […]

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