Your Input Welcome! by CAROL HILLMAN Rockford School Board Trustee With small signs of spring beginning daily, the spring fever and longing for Spring Break also begin. Despite snow days, that Spring Break indicates a stepping back from hectic daily life, and a chance to refuel before the last stretch of the school year. You can be involved soon after the Spring Break to help our district vision. One of the many effective tools used within our district is the “RAMS—Rams Action Model for Success” publication that has become an expected way for the competent staff to reach goals that lead to the motto of “continuous improvement.” RAMS VIII is in process and will be ready for implementation by January 2012. An integral part of shaping this publication is you. This community can have an important role in what the district views as important objectives during the three years following the implementation of RAMS VIII. Those three years are expected to have staff adopt the direction the RAMS publication dictates. This becomes a document to execute and guide the district. Staff is held to these goals and must report at periodic times during the year on how the goals are being addressed. Accountability makes this document integral in district successes. You, the community member, are asked to involve yourself in this developing document. A survey will be available to you soon after Spring Break that you are asked to fill out. It will be available in a Web version as well as a hard copy form, and you will be invited to participate by e-mail.. If you need a hard copy, simply call the Rockford Public Schools Administration Building at (616) 863-6320 or stop in to any front office of the school buildings. For your convenience, however, copies will be available to you via the website at www.rockfordschools.org. Speaking as a board member, current parent of the district, and a Rockford community member, I am truly proud of this systematic and professional procedure. I have seen first-hand during my eight years as a board member how seriously your opinion is taken and, thus, how effective the document is for the district. It supports the goal of being as transparent and available to the community as […]
January is School Board Recognition Month, and Rockford Public Schools is joining 552 local and 57 intermediate school districts across the state to thank these community volunteers for their untiring dedication to public education. “Michiganders benefit every day from the dedicated energies and countless hours devoted by a group of more than 4,000 men and women across the state,” said Dr. Michael Shibler, Superintendent of Rockford Public Schools. “These public servants are elected by our community to serve, and receive little recognition for the difficult job that they do. They are dedicated individuals who are committed to the continuing success of our schools and students.” In a climate of change and challenge, school board members in Rockford develop policies and make tough decisions on complex educational and social issues that affect the entire community and impact individual students. They bear responsibility an oversight for an annual budget of $72 million, approximately 8,000 students, 900 employees and 17 buildings. “We proudly join educators and community members in saluting these education advocates as they provide vision and leadership for student achievement, academic programs, district funding and school facilities. Their service ensures that decisions about local public schools are made by those most familiar with the needs of our community’s children and families,” said Shibler. “They preserve the core of our democracy—public education.” Board members will be formally recognized at the January 10 Board of Education meeting at the Rockford Administration Building. The men and women currently serving on the Rockford Public Schools Board of Education (with first year elected) are: David M. Keller, president (2006); Laura L. Featherston, vice president (2006); Miles J. Postema, secretary (2004); Carol A. Hillman, treasurer (2003); and trustees Timothy J. Lewis (2010), Tamara J. Schollaart (1998), and Randall C. Sellhorn (1995).
Your tax dollars… thank you! by CAROL HILLMAN Board of Education Trustee Every school year, the staff for the Rockford School District begins with a kick-off morning at Rockford High School. Support and teaching staff, along with administration and the school board, congregate in the auditorium and a motivating, fun-filled, informative event occurs. It’s a super way to get the engines running again on behalf of the students for the school year. It is planned in such a way that the entire staff looks forward to the morning, rather than feeling like “just one more meeting.” A statistic raised this year by Dr. Ryan Kelley sparked the writing of this article. Although the expansion of our athletic fields seems to be the most visible improvement to our district due to the bond passage in 2008, it represents the smallest amount of money devoted to improvements to our district. Only 13% of the money you voted to support our district’s constant desire to improve is supporting the wonderful additions to the athletic facilities for the school system. Another 17% of the bond is devoted to technology enhancements for our staff and students. Your tax dollars are a huge morale booster for our teachers to begin this school year. What a point of pride it is for them to have teaching materials like projector systems and audio enhancements that stimulate them, and allow the students to become more computer/technology savvy as well. Thanks to you, the tax supporter for education in our district, this is a reality in most of our buildings this year, and in all by next fall. The majority of the community supported the bond passage, of which 70% is devoted to new classrooms and renovations for the existing buildings that serve this district. It’s the “meat and potatoes” of what we need to continue to meet the needs of the students we serve. I invite you to take a personal tour of the district and, yes, look at the great new fields, but look a little deeper (like in the back) and discover the additions being built. One example alone—Cannonsburg Elementary, which is basically doubling in size—is so exciting to see. You deserve a bird’s-eye view of your tax dollars at work. Not […]