by BETH ALTENA “I can’t believe it’s been ten years,” said Rockford photographer Dan Davison of Douglas Photography. Davison brought the Examples in Excellence program to Rockford Public Schools (RPS) a decade ago. In the years since RPS, Davison and The Rockford Squire newspaper have been working together to recognize a very special group of students. Rockford is known to be a powerhouse in athletics with dozens of state championships. It is also a leader in education, known as one of the state’s most desirable districts and the only district of its size to have every building a Blue Ribbon Exemplary School. The district is the only one in the state, however, that has a formal ceremony to recognize students for an entirely different reason than either academic or athletic achievement. In Rockford, students are also honored and recognized for strength of character. Examples in Excellence, Rockford Students Making a Difference is a three-part program. Staff from each school in the district, from elementary on up to the alternative high school, pick a student on the basis of being a good community citizen and for what they do for others. After meeting with the students, Davison creates a portrait which tells about the young man’s or woman’s personality and activities, which he then mounts on a board which is on prominent display at the administration building for a full year. The Squire contributes by producing biographies of each student and publishing them, along with the portraits, in an heirloom, keepsake publication on high-quality paper to last a lifetime. This year’s students, as in the past, are the ones who are often overlooked, despite their good deeds. “Examples” kids are students who don’t necessarily command attention or make a big deal out of their efforts. They might not be the star in the athletic arena and might not be the first to raise their hand when teachers ask for answers. What they are, are people who, at a young age, already get what is really important in life: looking out for others and doing the right thing. This year’s students include a girl who volunteers at the Kent County Humane Society, a ten-year-old who has a mind for business and a girl with a spirit of […]
Blue Ribbon Exemplary School
Reflect on successful school year by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools Rockford Public Schools I want to begin by congratulating all the Rockford Public Schools (RPS) students who earned diplomas this spring, including those from Rockford High School, River Valley Academy, and Rockford Adult Education. I wish you the very best life has to offer. You are fortunate to have earned your diploma from a highly respected educational institution, which has prepared you to continue your lifelong education through technical or trade school, university or community college, military service, or on-the-job training. I encourage you to focus on making a difference with your life and in the lives of others. Go for it! I also want to reflect on a successful 2008-09 school year. Our students excelled in the classroom, in the athletic arena, and on stage. Our greatest source of pride is the achievement of our students-and there were many. Rockford students, from elementary through high school, brought much recognition to their families, their schools, and the Rockford community at large. Thank you! Also, Meadow Ridge Elementary School became our 12th and final school to earn recognition by the Michigan Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon Exemplary School. This outstanding award recognizes Meadow Ridge’s high student-achievement test scores, quality educational opportunities, and strong parent involvement. Congratulations, Meadow Ridge staff, students and families! Like most organizations, businesses and families, RPS is experiencing serious financial challenges. Most of our revenue comes from state income and sales taxes, and those dollars are significantly down because of the state’s unusually high unemployment numbers and the decline in retail activity. RPS is facing these challenges with a resolve to maintain the integrity of our educational opportunities for all students. I believe that it may be several years before Michigan is able to establish a positive cash reserve. During this period, I ask for your patience as we meet these challenges head on. In closing, I hope you and your family have a relaxing and enjoyable summer, and please free to contact me at (616) 863-6557 or email@example.com with questions or concerns.
In 1993, Valley View Elementary became Rockford Public Schools’ first school to be recognized by the state of Michigan as a Blue Ribbon Exemplary School. At the time, we committed to having all of our schools go through the Blue Ribbon process and earn this recognition. Why? Because we want to be accountable to you for providing the very best education for our students and our community. The Blue Ribbon recognition confirms that commitment. The Blue Ribbon program is a very challenging and detailed process, requiring school personnel to complete a comprehensive report delineating the school’s student achievement, test scores, educational programs, opportunities available for all students, and parent involvement in the school. The report is then evaluated by three independent readers, and a score is assigned based on a rigorous rubric. If the school receives high marks, a visitation team is sent to confirm the accuracy of the report. If all goes well, the school is recommended to the State Board of Education as a State Blue Ribbon Exemplary School. On March 17, 2009, the State Board of Education declared Meadow Ridge Elementary as Rockford Public Schools’ final traditional school to earn this recognition. All of Rockford Public Schools’ elementary, middle and high schools have now received this prestigious recognition from the State Board of Education. Many of our schools also received National Blue Ribbon recognition from the U.S. Department of Education. However, the state of Michigan discontinued participation in the federal program several years ago. Listed below are the dates each of our schools received their Blue Ribbon recognition: 1993-Valley View Elementary 1994-Rockford Middle School* 1995-Parkside Elementary 1996-Rockford High School* (includes all 9-12) 1997-Roguewood Elementary* 1998-Sheridan Trail 1999-Belmont Elementary* 2001-Cannonsburg Elementary* 2003-Lakes Elementary 2005-Crestwood Elementary 2006-East Rockford Middle School 2009-Meadow Ridge Elementary *Also received National Blue Ribbon recognition from the U.S. Department of Education (Michigan’s participation in the U.S. program ended in 2002). The process to become a State Blue Ribbon Exemplary School District has taken 16 years, but was well worth the effort. Later this spring, Meadow Ridge staff, students and parents will be formally recognized by the State Board of Education during a ceremony held at the school. Congratulations to Meadow Ridge Elementary and the Rockford Public Schools!