School Beat

Parents’ final grade: A+

May 9, 2013 // 0 Comments

By: Tom Hosford, Principal Crestwood Elementary   In just a few short weeks, the Rockford community will complete another wonderful and successful school year! Through hard work, sacrifice and determination, many Rockford students, staff, administrators and schools have received state or local awards and recognition. Rockford Public Schools has earned many awards over the years including every building being a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, and for seven straight years each building has earned a straight “A” from the Michigan Department of Education’s EdYES! Report Card process. This year our district has again demonstrated Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and several schools were recognized by the State of Michigan as a “Reward School” based on high achievement. We definitely have a lot to be thankful for. Through all the successes and positive experiences Rockford Public Schools has enjoyed over the last few years, there is one underlying theme that should never go unnoticed: the incredible support from our parents. This support comes in many different forms, such as: helping students with their homework or studying for tests, volunteering for various educational or co-curricular committees, or staying involved with the school through the various Parent/Teacher Organizations/Associations, Parent Advisory Committees or Booster Organizations. Research proves that the more a parent is involved with their child’s education, the more successful that child will become in school. You cannot find a better example of this than right here in Rockford. As an educator, I see firsthand the positive impact parents make, not only for our individual students, but for our entire school system as well. On behalf of the entire Rockford Public School system, I would like to thank all of our parents for their constant support. Only through consistent parental involvement can we continue our tradition of excellence. Enjoy the end of the school year and all the festivities that come with it!

Limiting Media to Increase Student Success

April 25, 2013 // 0 Comments

Kelly Amshey, Assistant Principal East Rockford Middle School   Adults recognize that children are growing up in an era of technology. Access to media such as television, movies, Internet, social networking, texting, and video games is greater now than ever. While these technologies provide children with distraction and entertainment, overuse can be detrimental to their academic and social success. Overuse of media can contribute to poor homework completion, lack of sleep, and decrease in positive learning activities such as reading and creative play. Research consistently supports limits on media exposure at home, including the following: Limit total daily use to two hours at a maximum. This should include watching television or video, using the Internet (unless required for homework), playing video games, using social networking sites, and texting. Meals should be eaten as a family, when possible, without television or other use of electronics. Model reasonable use of media. Parents will not be affected by media use in the same way as their students. However, children’s media use will be reflective of how much time their parents spend using these technologies. Keep computers and televisions in common areas of the home. Also, require that cell phones, iPods, and similar mobile devices be turned into parents at bed time. This ensures that children’s use will be monitored and that they are not overusing without parent knowledge. Encourage play for younger kids. Encourage older children to become involved in structured activities, either through school or other organizations. By keeping kids busy, they will be less dependent on technology for entertainment. Change will not come quickly or easily. Depending on your family, it may be best to make these changes slowly or all at once. No matter how your family tackles the issue, please recognize the importance of limiting use, thereby keeping your kids safe, healthy, and successful.  

School Beat

April 18, 2013 // 0 Comments

Earning a college degree remains an affordable investment by Miles Postema School Board Member When I was in elementary school, I remember my mother saving silver dollars to fund my college education. I was the seventh of eight kids and the only one that went to college. My folks started saving early with the expectation that I would go to college. Between their contributions and my part-time and summer work, I obtained my undergraduate degree with only $2,500 in student loans. I read an article last week that today less than half the families of school age children are saving for college. From time to time we see stories questioning whether a college education is still a good investment. There can be little argument that earning a college degree remains a good investment. There is continuing and growing earnings premium for those with a four-year degree over those with only a high school diploma. Generally, those with college degrees are more likely to get jobs. Michigan is fortunate to have 15 strong public universities each with their own unique mission. In addition, the state has another 28 community colleges. So, public higher education is readily available to everyone. Over the last 40 years, though, the funding for public higher education has shifted from state funding to tuition funding, transferring more of the burden to students and parents. Universities still receive much support from the state but the percentage of operating costs funded by the state has declined dramatically over time. For a number of reasons, some simple and others complex, debt accumulated by students continues to grow. Students with four-year degrees often graduate with $25,000 or more of debt. Graduate students, particularly those in medicine and law, routinely graduate with over $100,000 in debt. While that by itself is sobering, consider for a moment the student that accumulates debt but never graduates. Students that begin an education but do not finish bear the burden of accumulated debt without the benefit of the degree. Students that drop out of college are probably considered only somewhat more favorably than those that never went. A college degree remains affordable but it requires a fair amount of discipline and planning. There are several ways to limit the overall cost […]

School Beat

March 1, 2013 // 0 Comments

Be nice… just do it!   Bob Siegel, Principal Valley View Elementary     “BE NICE.” This is such a simple statement, yet can be very challenging to “live.” Rockford has developed a “Healthy Kids Campaign” to help grow our kids into adults who can make good decisions about both their physical and mental well-being. In the process of helping our families are successful in protecting our kids from both physical and emotional, Rockford Schools has partnered with the Mental Health Foundation. I’m reminded by the Nike advertising slogan – Just Do it! The idea is to get people off their coaches and get them running. Of course, it would be nice if you were to purchase a pair of Nike shoes before you started running. The “swoosh” advertisement from Nike was a simple call to ACTION….buy shoes and goes run! The key word here is action! Spend money and get out on the roads. In our “BE NICE” efforts in all of our schools, we are trying to call our students to action as well – “Treat Others the Way You Want to be treated!” We’ve coupled this program of giving our children the tools with which to be KIND with our district “Anti-bullying” efforts. The “bar of conduct” has been raised through a very strict rubric for behavior and appropriate consequences for failure to make good decisions. The most severe consequences are when our kids are NOT nice to their peers. Simply, we WILL NOT TOLERATE MEANNESS in ANY FORM! Though the Nike commercial campaign was successful, there are many who did not respond and rush out to buy a pair of Nike running shoes….in my case, I run in Asics. It was a choice whether people started exercising or not, and of course many have not. However, being NICE at Rockford schools is NOT a CHOICE! There will be NO tolerance for children to treat their peers in any way but with respect and dignity! Every staff member in our schools has committed to both MODELING the behavior that we want our students to exhibit, and to intervene when bullying behavior occurs – skills that we are teaching our children to embrace and practice as well. We do not expect our kids […]

School Beat

February 24, 2013 // 0 Comments

Common Core State Standards   Dr. Ryan Kelley Assistant Superintendent for Instruction   Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, students across the country will notice a change in state standardized testing. Rather than each state having their own standards and tests, states will have one common core set of standards and will be participating in one common national test. Michigan, along with 46 other states, has adopted the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). As a result of the CCSS, local school districts will have to adjust their daily methods of instruction and methods of assessment to align with the new national test. In preparation for the transition to common standards, RPS will be involving teachers, administrators, parents and students. Departments of Education are promoting the purpose of implementing the CCSS as a method to raise the level of rigor and relevance for our students. Implementation of the CCSS will better prepare our students by allowing them to acquire the knowledge and skills that are needed to meet the demands of college and/or workforce in the 21st Century. It is believed that there will be drastic changes to the new national test, including the students being required to take the test on a computer, on-line. Additionally, the test will be adaptive, meaning that each student will have a different set of questions because each question is determined by whether the previous question was answered correctly. In conclusion, the new national test will begin in the 2014-15 school year. In preparation, it will be important for parents to be actively involved and assist in the communication with their children related to the purpose of the test and how the test will change. If you have any questions on the transition to the Common Core State Standards, please contact me at 863-6556, or contact your child’s principal.  

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