It is a parent’s worst nightmare. Your child is at recess at their elementary school when an armed mental patient escapes authorities within walking distance of the playground. This scenario played out at Belmont Elementary on Wednesday, March 10. For the first time in district history, a Code Red emergency procedure was called, and Rockford proved prepared for the emergency. At approximately 2 p.m. the Kent County Sheriff’s office received a mental pick up order for a 22-year-old Grand Rapids resident. Deputies received a tip that the individual was at a friend’s house in the Belmont area, a residence to the north of Belmont Elementary. When Deputies arrived at the residence, he fled out a back window. The individual was reportedly armed with a knife. According to Rockford Public Schools head of security, Charlie Brown, within two minutes of the incident he was notified. Half of Belmont’s students were outdoors on recess on the playground. Within one minute more, said Belmont Principal Bill Armitage, the students and staff were in full lockdown in classrooms and offices. This was a Code Red procedure that Rockford designed and implemented half a dozen years ago after one of the first nationally-publicized school shootings. The then-director of security for RPS, Bob Goethal, a former police officer, developed a response procedure in cases where students and staff may be threatened. “We developed this before Columbine,” said Rockford’s Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Shibler. He said at that time Rockford had one security officer at the high school. “I felt we could do a better job ensuring a safe environment for our students and staff,” he said. He said Goethal was a captain with the Grand Rapids Police Department who was retiring. Shibler approached him and asked if he was interested in developing a procedure to respond to a Columbine-type situation. Goethal came up with the Code Red process and during Wednesday’s emergency it worked perfectly. “Practice makes perfect,” said Brown, who has been head of security at RPS since Goethal retired. He said all schools in the district practice Code Red twice yearly, in addition to by-law drills for fires and tornados. Rockford’s Code Red calls for all students and staff to be in locked rooms with shades drawn and […]
Belmont Elementary School
School Beat Learning with style by BILL AMITAGE, Principal Belmont Elementary School Perhaps this has happened to you. You are sitting around the dinner table with your family. Or, if you’re like my children who are now grown and parents of children themselves, you are taking your children to an after school function. The conversation usually turns to their day. You ask the time honored question, “So, what did you learn in school today”? This is usually followed by the time honored response, “Nothing”. Aside from the dynamics of parent-child relationships, in order to get a response that is more than a single word phrase, perhaps the question needs to be modified. Instead of asking what they learned in school, ask them what they enjoyed the most about school, and why. This question encourages responses that may give you some insight about how they learn best. There are three broad categories of learners that I see often in school. First, there are students who are auditory learners. They learn best by listening and responding during instruction. They have a great auditory memory, remembering what the teacher has said and the conversations in class. They have a good control of vocabulary and language. However, they can also be easily distracted by noise in the learning environment. Second, there are students who learn best through instruction that focuses on visual cues. They learn best by seeing what is being presented. Maps, graphs, movies and pictures help them retain the information presented in class. These students may struggle if they are in a class that relies heavily on lecture. Finally, there are the kinesthetic learners. They learn by doing. They are often good at athletics. They learn best through activities that allow them to get out of their seats, move about, and interact during their learning. t may be difficult for kinesthetic learners to sit still during lessons, and they may often appear fidgety or distracted. All three of these learning styles are evident in the average classroom. Students are generally not exclusively one learning style over another. The task is to plan lessons that address all three of these styles. Teachers differentiate instruction so that a single concept will be presented in ways that connect with the […]
Hard-working student makes tasks fun for others Ethan Babcock, age 10, is the son of Dan and Kathy Babcock and brother to Trenten. Ethan is Belmont Elementary’s Example in Excellence because he is a person who always tries to do his best and throws himself whole-heartedly into all of his endeavors. Staff at Belmont say that Ethan shows enthusiasm and perseverance and shares those qualities with others around him. A team-player, Ethan is supportive of fellow athletes on his swim team. He also exhibits compassion and has taken on church projects to help students in Rwanda. Ethan shows his willingness to help others as he volunteers as a lunch helper and mentor to kindergarten students. His teachers describe him as a student who works hard but likes to have a good time along the way. He is also known for his wide variety of interests. A leader, Ethan is president of his fifth-grade class. He is branch manager at the student-run credit union. His relay team took first place in the 10-and-under free relay at State Competition this past spring. Ethan also took ninth place at the summer 2008 Mega Zone meet for ages 10 and under open water event. Included in Ethan’s hobbies are his favorite sports of swimming, water polo, creating with Legos and reading. Ethan is known to spend hours reading a book. A well-rounded individual, Ethan is also involved in his church youth group, Fifty-Six. For his many talents but more importantly his support and encouragement of others, Ethan is an Example in Excellence for peers and staff at Belmont Elementary.
This Student Run Credit Union is the “reel” deal! Red Carpet Events will be held in three Rockford area schools. Rockford Community Federal Credit Union is making savings fun in schools through a movie and celebrity themed, fully functioning “reel” Student Run Credit Union. Schools participating in programs are Belmont, Roguewood, and Our Lady of Consolation School. The schools recognize the need to teach students how to save for the future. In a partnership with Rockford Community Federal Credit Union the Student Run Credit Union was established. This program is now in its 6th year of operation. “By partnering with the schools, it provides the students an opportunity and a first hand experience with money management and financial education. Students learn as employees and as members who make deposits and withdrawals. Good habits learned early are more likely to last a lifetime,” said Connie Taylor, CEO of Rockford Community Federal Credit Union. These Credit Unions are now fully functional and run once a week for students to be able to make deposits, withdrawals and learn how to save money. The students get rewarded for good savings through games and prizes. As an added bonus, students in 5th grade have the opportunity to become an employee of the Student Run Credit Union. Lisa Smith, the Educational Coordinator for Rockford Community Federal Credit Union, oversees the Student Run Credit Unions. She says, “in these tough economic times our goal with the all Student Run Credit Unions is to provide a “reel” life financial literacy-based program that teaches students about saving money, decision-making and critical thinking while they are young.” The Credit Union hopes that by having the Credit Union, students will be more responsible with their money management and finances in the future. The Red Carpet was rolled out February 9, at Belmont Elementary, February 11 in Roguewood Elementary, and February 12 in Our Lady of Consolation School. These super star celebrations had snacks and Emmy pictures with celebrities for all student members.
Belmont students recently swept the Battle of the Books competition by winning all battles and the trophy. This competition has taken place annually since 1991. The competitors include teams of fifth-graders from each of Rockford’s elementary schools as well as Assumption of Belmont and Our Lady of Consolation. Students on each team must work together to answer questions from 25 selected books and their authors. This is the first win for Belmont School.