Blake R. Bowman


June 30, 2011 // 0 Comments

An Honest Teacher Evaluation by BLAKE R. BOWMAN Dad and Principal, Lakes Elementary School I was given the opportunity to write this article because I am the principal at Lakes Elementary School, but the inspiration to write this article comes because I am a father at Lakes, too. I’m in a unique position to examine education from two very unique perspectives. I can watch what happens through the lens of my office, and yet I’m also privileged to see it through the eyes of my daughter Melanie and my son Brennan. Both vantage points offer clarity into the state of education that seems to be missing in most analysis from Lansing and from some media sources. Rockford teachers have shone brilliantly throughout a year in which our profession has been under attack from legislators and the media alike. It’s not easy to consistently give your best each day when you are hearing from all these outlets that your best isn’t good enough. They are wrong! They have never been to Lakes Elementary. They have never spent time in Rockford Public Schools. They have never seen our teachers hug our children, weep over them, whisper in their ears, touch them softly on their shoulders. They’ve never seen our staff wrap their arms around a child who was scared to sing at the talent show and give them the strength to overcome anxiety to realize a dream. They’ve never seen our teachers embrace a child whose father died unexpectedly just a few days earlier. They’ve never seen what time teachers go to bed because they’re still up working. I’ve exchanged e-mails with my teachers between 1:00 and 2:00 in the morning on school nights! Teaching is not an 8:00 to 4:00 job! Critics of our teachers have never seen the pile of receipts for things teachers have bought for their students, or the bills that will go unpaid this month because teachers made sure their students came first. The average teacher spends well over a thousand dollars of their own money on their students annually, providing those things for kids that reduced state funding no longer can. Folks down in Lansing have never seen the adoration in the eyes of our kids when they look up at […]

School Beat – May 28, 2009

May 28, 2009 // 0 Comments

A ‘student stimulus plan’ by BLAKE R. BOWMAN Principal, Lakes Elementary School A few weeks ago, Michigan State University’s (MSU) men’s basketball team defeated Louisville to advance to the NCAA Final Four in Detroit. Recognizing that the Spartans’ magical run through the tournament was providing a lot of positive energy for an economically challenged region, MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo said after the game, “Let’s face it, every state’s been hit this year. It’s been a tough time, but ours has been hit maybe as hard as anybody’s. I’m just hoping we’re a silver lining. I’m hoping that we’re the sunshine. I’m hoping we’re something to embrace, to be involved with…” The sun shone brightly on Michigan for the next week. I should know. I went down to Detroit for the Final Four games, and it was a spectacular environment down there. MSU’s athletic director, Mark Hollis, referred to the team’s achievements as the “Spartan stimulus plan.” And, for a week, it worked some awe-inspiring magic. But the Final Four is over now. For all the fun and exhilaration that we had, any true stimulus plan has to be based on something more lasting. The Federal government’s economic stimulus plan is slated to provide some much-needed relief for struggling programs, but even this is a one-time windfall. Where can we turn to find hope and inspiration that will stand up against the tests of time? Take a look at the students of Rockford Public Schools. I’m the biggest MSU fan you’ll ever meet, but I missed the Louisville game because I was at Rockford High School with my two oldest children, watching the incredible musical performance of “Beauty and the Beast.” Sure, that performance is over, but every time you turn around in this town, you’ll find more of our students doing outstanding things. At this year’s Community Expo last March, I was proud to watch many of my students from Lakes sing in front of a gym full of people. It was very exciting to watch them shine publicly! Most of Rockford’s schools were represented at that event. Rockford’s musical departments are executing amazing performances all of the time. North Rockford Middle School (NRMS) offered an Arts Night last month that spotlighted NRMS students […]