State Board of Education challenges Michigan schools by DR. RYAN KELLEY Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Rockford Public Schools The Michigan State Board of Education has placed a challenge to every student and every school in Michigan, by raising the MEAP/MME cut scores (the minimal score at which a student is considered “proficient”). As the cut score is raised, fewer students will be considered proficient in math, science, reading, writing and social studies. In an effort to show how significant the change will be, the State Board re-released last year’s scores and included what the scores would have been using the new cut scores. The chart displays a sample of the significant changes in the percentage of students labeled proficient, including the county and state averages. Despite the initial decline in the number of students reported as proficient due to the change in cut score, we are confident that the scores will continue to increase due to the many school improvement efforts and the outstanding teachers and students that we have at Rockford Public Schools. The state is challenging every student to perform at a higher level. We are confident the Rockford students will rise to meet and exceed this new standard. Working together we welcome this challenge and we know that our students will continue to accomplish great things. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at your convenience at (616) 863-6556.
Dr. Ryan Kelley
Rockford Rotary, Rockford schools celebrate reading by DR. RYAN KELLEY Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Rockford Public Schools An important skill to develop at an early age is reading, as it is the foundation for all future learning. There is truth in the saying, “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” Recognizing this, the Rockford Rotary Club and Rockford Public Schools are co-sponsoring the Third Annual Reading Rocks in Rockford Festival. The primary objective of the festival is to promote the joy of reading for all ages. This year’s festival will be held on Saturday, Aug. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The festival kicks off with a parade through downtown Rockford. Kids and adults are invited to dress up as a storybook character and join in the parade, meeting at Krause Memorial Library at 9:45 a.m. Following the parade, there are many scheduled activities including a publishing center, book bingo, fish for books, readers theater, meet the authors, garden park entertainment, VIP Readers and providing recognition to some of our finest elementary school readers from this past school year. We hope that your summer is filled with memorable experiences, including the reading of many quality books. Additionally, we hope to see everyone at the Reading Festival on August 13. A special thank-you goes to the Rockford Education Foundation for providing additional financial resources to make the festival extra special. If you have any questions, please contact me at (616) 863-6556 or Sue Bodenner of Rockford Rotary Club at (616) 866-2002.
Common Core State Standards by DR. RYAN KELLEY Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Rockford Public Schools We continue to witness the impact of the challenging economic times upon our families, friends and neighbors. Many experts believe that the primary method to improve the economy is to have a higher educated workforce. A workforce that possesses the highly publicized 21st Century Skills—critical thinkers, problem solvers, communicators, and being collaborative, creative and innovative. No matter where a student lives, he/she should be provided these skills in order to be better prepared for postsecondary education and their career. As a result, the development and implementation of the Common Core State Standards is taking place across the country. The standards for math and English language arts can be reviewed online at www.corestandards.org. The standards in the other core subject areas are still in the developmental stages. We know that in Rockford we are already providing our students with a world-class educational experience, and they are college and career ready. However, we can always improve. To make certain that we are preparing our students for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, we have many teachers and administrators working together with educators from across the state. If you would like more information about this topic, I invite you to access the Web address previously mentioned, or call me at (616) 863-6556.
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.
by DR. RYAN KELLEY Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Rockford Public Schools A quality education is what every parent expects for their children. According to parent survey results in Rockford, our parents believe that their children are receiving a quality education. When asked, “What letter grade would you assign to the education that is provided by Rockford Public Schools?” nearly 95 percent of parents responded with either an A or a B. The national average for the combined responses of A and B is 50 percent, according to the most recent Gallup Poll. Beyond survey results, there are other indicators that are valuable in determining the quality of a school system. For example, what do experts from “outside of the district” have to say about the school district? Rockford Public Schools (RPS) brings in many experts to assist in obtaining feedback on the effectiveness of our district. Over the past 15 years, the Michigan Department of Education and/or the U.S. Department of Education have recognized every Rockford school building as being a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Another process that assists schools in their continuous improvement effort is the accreditation process. Accreditation assures the community that the schools adhere to high quality standards based on the latest research and successful professional practice. Every RPS school has been North Central Accredited for many years. However, this year we are pursuing AdvancED District Accreditation. District accreditation is a powerful systems approach to improving student achievement and organizational effectiveness. No longer do individual school buildings work in isolation on their school improvement plans. Schools must work together on developing district-wide systems for improvement, while still being able to work on building-specific targeted goals. An important step toward being one of the first districts in West Michigan to be recognized with AdvancED District Accreditation status, is the hosting of a visitation team of education experts. From March 21 to 24, RPS will host a visitation team that consists of members from Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan. They are committed to identifying our strengths, and mandated to identify areas needing growth. The goal of this process will be to make this exemplary school district even better! I look forward to providing the community with a summary of the visitation team’s assessment of […]