It was a ceremony unlike any other for Rockford Public Schools and the impact will continue on for generations. From Friday, October 1 with a monument dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on through Sunday, October 3 with a farewell brunch, Rockford Public Schools recognized ten special people. Several came from different countries for the first Rockford Public Schools Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the related events. Rockford alumni or residents were selected from four categories for this recognition. A six-and-a-half-foot-tall monument now graces the front of Rockford High School with the names of the ten inductees. There is space on the stone for nearly 80 more years of inductions, which will take place every other year. “This was fantastic,” said Rockford Public School Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler, one of the inductees. He referred to the day of interacting with Rockford students by the inductees which took place Friday throughout the district. The event was 14 months in the making and came with help from a similar program offered by Grand Haven Public Schools. Lisa Jacobs of Rockford Community Services and Jill Erickson from Rockford Education Foundation have been working with a committee for the Hall of Fame and the committee had the difficult job of choosing the initial inductees. Dr. Ryan Kelley, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, worked with an advisory council over the summer, making sure all inductees met the criteria for recognition. The inductees include people from all over the country, who traveled here from throughout the world. The categories are Cultural/Performing Arts, Academic/Career Accomplishments, Service to the Community, Service to Rockford Public School/Community and Honorary. Neil Blakeslee, former Rockford mayor and his late father, Clarence, were among the first inductees. “I feel humbled by the company I’m keeping with this group,” Neil said. He said others in the community deserve the award as much as he. “Dad’s is a posthumous recognition. I’m glad mine isn’t,” he joked. Watch the Squire for photos and bios of each of the inductees.
Dr. Michael Shibler
The Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) is proud to announce that they will be hosting a candidate forum from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22. The event will take place at Boulder Creek Golf Club, 5750 Brewer Ave., Belmont, and will feature the candidates running for Michigan’s 73rd District House of Representatives. The 10 candidates—nine Republicans and one Democrat—were all invited to this exciting event so they could get their message out to their potential voters. The candidates are vying for the seat that Rep. Tom Pearce is vacating due to term limitations. The seven appearing as of most recently are: Bruce Hawley (R), Jeanine Herlacher (R), Paul Hibbard (R), Steve Jazwiec (R), Peter MacGregor (R), Tom Norton (R), and Dennis Smith (R). Dr. Michael Shibler, superintendent of Rockford Public Schools, will be moderating the event. The forum format will allow for each candidate to address the crowd for five minutes and then the moderator will ask the candidates questions that the attendees will have submitted during the actual event. Cost for the candidate forum will be $10 and reservations are required. Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served. Please call Jeannie at (616) 866.2000, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest convenience so the RCC may plan for the event. Deadline for reservations is Thursday, June 17.
Football should be played on grass, believes Dr. Michael Shibler, Rockford Public School Superintendent. He also stated that Head Football Coach Ralph Munger believes football should be played on grass. Nonetheless, as the new Mondo artificial turf multi-use (formerly football) field opens this Thursday, September 3, Shibler is thrilled with the new field. With state-of-the-art technology that allows the artificial turf to one day be recycled, stay cooler during hot game or practice days, and allow extended use of the field, the new field is a wonderful addition and made possible by last May’s successful millage. “I believe in doing it right the first time, especially when spending taxpayer dollars,” said Shibler. He was one of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce guest speakers at the every-other-month luncheon series. The field will be “unveiled” during a rededication ceremony of the Ted Carlson stadium at 7 p.m. (see story on page 1). It was one of many topics Shibler discussed during the business luncheon held at Bostwick Lake Inn. Improvements to the district are possible through the community’s support of its school through millage approvals as well as the strong base of volunteers Rockford enjoys. Shibler took the time to educate those in the audience on all the district has accomplished through support from the residents, parents and staff. Shibler stated that the district has changed in many ways since he began as superintendent. He praised the great working relationship between the school and the business community, and said one of the first things he emphasized 23 years ago was that the school be an active partner with businesses, the City and our townships. “This is my 42nd year as a Michigan educator and I can’t think of a better place to be,” Shibler said. He said when he started the district had 4,100 students and now there are 8,100 in grades kindergarten through 12. In 1989 the district began planning its RAMS program (Rockford Action Model for Success). Each RAMS is a three-year plan of improvement now in its seventh version. The district has 1,000 employees and a $74 million annual budget, but receives the lowest funding per student in Kent County. Ending or lessening the difference in per-student funding—comparable schools receive as much as ten […]
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!
The first king on the throne was RPS’ own Dr. Shibler, recipient of a traveling AfterGrad fundraiser that will be seen soon on a lawn near you. The traveling toilet features instructions on what to do if it comes to you and how much to pay to send it on to the next home. Donations to get this creative display away to the next location all go to Rockford’s annual AfterGrad party, designed to keep our graduating seniors entertained and safe as they celebrate. For those who would like to donate to this great cause and don’t get the Royal Flush at home, send donations to: Rockford After Grad, c/o Michelle Coleman, 260 Glen Arbor Dr., Rockford, MI 49341.