School Beat

Helping our students become global citizens

July 18, 2013 // 0 Comments

Lissa Weidenfeller, NRMS Principal The world is shrinking everyday due to increases in technology and transportation and becoming worldly citizens is becoming increasingly important. Traveling with school groups is an invaluable experience and something that teaches skills and builds on classroom knowledge. Not only does student travel add another dimension to their traditional classroom experiences but it fosters real life experiences which will increase college and career readiness skills along with future success in all areas of their lives. I have had the privilege to witness these benefits while traveling with a few of the school travel partnerships Rockford Public Schools has to offer. Fostering Relationships: During the school hours, students often navigate within the same group of peers. On school trips, students are able to interact with students they may not know or have communicated with in the past. Student travel incorporates team work, communication, cooperation, and mutual respect. Not only does student travel encourage peer relations but in addition, students are able to form stronger relationships with school staff and administration as well as take advantage of experienced and knowledgeable travel guides. The relationships students build while traveling with a school group are meaningful relationships based on a common interest. Independence and Responsibility: This is one of the areas where students experience the most growth. Students learn to be accountable for their own money, keep track of their belongings, share, and meet their overall personal needs. This includes organizational skills, time management, following a schedule, appropriate dress, and respecting the belongings and space of others. Enrichment of Classroom Learning: Through student travel, the lessons and skills acquired in the classroom are brought to life and experienced first-hand. Students are able to witness the history, languages, international exchange rates, and cultures they have read and learned about in their classrooms. Watching the realization cross their face as they are immersed in new opportunities is inspiring. Teachers are able to push student understanding to new levels by referring to past and future lessons while experiencing curriculum components and watching it come alive. Becoming Ambassadors: Just like in business, when you represent a company you are a reflection of that organization. Our students are taught how to be positive reflections of their community and school. In […]

It’s summer! Go on a picnic!

July 12, 2013 // 0 Comments

It’s summer! Go on a picnic.   By John Henry Food Service Director, Rockford Public Schools   Michigan has so many fun places to go for a family picnic. What a great way to spend time with the family. One of my favorite things to do is find a remote place on a lake or river where we can have summer fun fishing, swimming, water sports and of course eating! Hopefully you will be able to enjoy your summer too. But be safe! Plan ahead so you don’t forget the essential items. Your checkpoint list should include a cooler chest with ice, plenty of clean utensils, paper towels, thermometer, trash bags, and containers for left overs. In preparation for your picnic: don’t thaw meat on counter overnight – that is not safe. Thaw foods in the refrigerator or cook from a frozen state. Cooking frozen meat or poultry will take 50% longer than the recommended time for fully thawed or fresh meat and poultry. And don’t partially cook meat or poultry ahead of time. That can be risky. It’s safest to cook meat & poultry to a safe internal temperature at the picnic. For a worry free picnic, place perishable foods, such as hotdogs, burgers, poultry, potato salads, etc. in a well insulated cooler with plenty of ice. Keep it cold until you need it. Don’t leave foods out in the sun. Serve food quickly from the cooler and return it fast. In hot weather, especially temps above 90F, foods shouldn’t be out of the cooler over an hour, Always check the temperatures of your grilled foods to ensure the proper internal temperatures are met. According to Servsafe Essentials Fifth Edition, those temps include but are not limited to: 165F poultry-including whole or ground chicken, turkey or duck, stuffed meats 155F ground beef, pork and other meat 145F seafood-including fish, shellfish and crustaceans, steaks, chops, veal and lamb 145F roasts of pork, beef, veal and lamb Serve food on clean platters and make sure grills are clean before use. I don’t normally have this problem , but make sure left overs are kept cold in the cooler until you return home and can be refrigerated. Food always tastes better outside. Go picnic! Have fun!   […]

Preventing Summer Slide or Brain Drain

July 3, 2013 // 0 Comments

Preventing Summer Slide or Brain Drain   Larry Watters, Principal Parkside Elementary   “Summer Slide”, or “Brain Drain” as some call it, is the loss of learning due a decline in educational activities over the summer months. Studies over the past one hundred years show that students score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the end of the previous year. Research varies as to the projected percentage of decline in scores and skills most adversely affected during the summer months. Although the study results vary, they do conclude that both math skills and reading achievement can decline from one to three months for students not practicing those skills. Luckily there are programs already in place that can help students fight “Summer Slide”. GRASP, summer reading programs at Kent District Libraries and school sponsored reading and math incentives are just a few of the possibilities. In addition to organized programs, researchers suggest keeping many good books around and making regular trips to the library. Just six books read during the summer months can keep reading skills from regressing. Utilize the local librarians to find books that will interest your child. They will help to match their age, interests and abilities to available resources. In addition to books, the library can offer daily newspapers, magazines or online sources too. Your local library can offer a variety of materials to keep reading interesting. While summer reading opportunities abound, it may at first seem a bit daunting to find ways to keep your child’s math skills sharp. While the idea of filling the summer days with various math activities is a great idea, in practice it may hardly ever occur. A better idea may be to do a quick search on your tablet or smart phone. There are various math games at sites such as funbrain , gamequaruim and mathplayground that may make math a bit more user-friendly this summer. Practicing age and ability appropriate math skills may be as simple as accessing your child’s online school math account. The online accounts should still active throughout the summer. Summertime fills quickly with trips, camps, and all sorts of daily fun. If possible, take some time to set […]

Three times as many RHS students will earn college credit

June 28, 2013 // 0 Comments

Lisa Jacobs, Executive Director Community Services   Starting in the fall of 2013, the Rockford Public Schools will partner with Ferris State University to pilot a new option for high school students to earn high school credit as well as college credit. These classes, called concurrent enrollment courses, are actual Ferris State University courses. The instructors are high school teachers that have been approved to teach the courses by FSU. The courses are taught during the school day and built into the schedule and run concurrently with AP classes. Rockford students will benefit by not only earning college and high school credit, but most importantly experience the rigor of taking a college course. Students must meet the eligibility requirements to register for the courses. The registration and courses are free to students. Through this partnership, the district will provide three times as many students the opportunity to earn credit. More students will be able to earn college credit at the same cost to the district as in previous years. Interested students that are not anticipating attending Ferris State University are also encouraged to participate. If a student is interested, parents and students should contact the college or university of choice and ask about the transferability of the credit. Parents and students should also visit the Michigan Transfer Network at to review transferability as well. However, please keep in mind the best advice is to contact the college or university of choice for their acceptance of the FSU credit. For information on “The Woodbridge Ferris Early College Program,” please contact Lisa Jacobs, Executive Director of Community Services, at 863-6322. Parents and students may also learn more information about concurrent enrollment by visiting the Ferris State University website at

Presentation of the Class of 2013

June 20, 2013 // 0 Comments

Dan Zang, RHS Principal   RHS recently celebrated our 2013 commencement ceremony. The Class of 2013 is a tremendous group who now move on to spread their wings. Below you will find excerpts from this year’s graduation speech. Mrs. Hillman, board of Education President…. It is, with great honor that I present to you the Rockford High School graduating Class of 2013. This class is composed of 605 graduates that have achieved great success in their time at Rockford High School. They have excelled first and foremost in the classroom. They have also excelled in fine arts, community service, and co-curricular activities. Their accomplishments and actions have made us all very proud. To the parents here this evening: Congratulations to each of you! As I look over this group of graduates one last time, I am so very proud of their many accomplishments. I can only imagine the pride and joy that you are feeling right now. Be proud of your young adults as they will soon take flight and go on to make you even prouder than you feel this evening! On behalf of the staff at Rockford High School and Rockford Public Schools, thank you for allowing us the opportunity to work with your children. Rockford Public Schools’ success is directly attributed to the tremendous parent support we receive in its varying forms. We are proud to share this milestone with you parents; it has been a joy and pleasure to work with your children. To the graduates: In a short while you will exit this arena one last time as a Rockford High School senior. As you sit here waiting to walk across this stage I want to take this opportunity to congratulate each and every one of you on a job well done. Each and every one of you has a story and journey as to how you got here. We celebrate the fact that you have arrived, and have accomplished, we know your story is only just beginning. Be sure that you always continue to learn, the quest for learning and doing will always come to your favor in life’s journey. Your launch officially begins this evening, take your diploma – make a difference- and fly!! For a variety of […]

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