Local student Taylor Harding recently pledged Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Albion College. Tau Kappa Epsilon was founded at Illinois Wesleyan University in 1899. The “Tekes” support the Special Olympics. Harding is a sophomore at Albion College. He is the son of David and Megan Harding of Rockford and a graduate of Rockford High School. Albion College offers the unique blend of a classic liberal arts curriculum with a focus on professional preparation in law, medicine, education, management and the sciences.
Hard-working student makes tasks fun for others Ethan Babcock, age 10, is the son of Dan and Kathy Babcock and brother to Trenten. Ethan is Belmont Elementary’s Example in Excellence because he is a person who always tries to do his best and throws himself whole-heartedly into all of his endeavors. Staff at Belmont say that Ethan shows enthusiasm and perseverance and shares those qualities with others around him. A team-player, Ethan is supportive of fellow athletes on his swim team. He also exhibits compassion and has taken on church projects to help students in Rwanda. Ethan shows his willingness to help others as he volunteers as a lunch helper and mentor to kindergarten students. His teachers describe him as a student who works hard but likes to have a good time along the way. He is also known for his wide variety of interests. A leader, Ethan is president of his fifth-grade class. He is branch manager at the student-run credit union. His relay team took first place in the 10-and-under free relay at State Competition this past spring. Ethan also took ninth place at the summer 2008 Mega Zone meet for ages 10 and under open water event. Included in Ethan’s hobbies are his favorite sports of swimming, water polo, creating with Legos and reading. Ethan is known to spend hours reading a book. A well-rounded individual, Ethan is also involved in his church youth group, Fifty-Six. For his many talents but more importantly his support and encouragement of others, Ethan is an Example in Excellence for peers and staff at Belmont Elementary.
The Kent County Education Association (KCEA) will once again be awarding student scholarships to deserving students, along with teacher and support staff awards to those exceptional individuals who make a difference in the education community. For the past 26 years, the KCEA has sponsored the “Teacher Recognition” and “Top Support Staff” Campaign in honor of Teacher Day School Family Day. The event recognizes teachers and support staff who exhibit excellence in their job performance and have demonstrated leadership and service to the education community. In addition, eight $500 scholarships are awarded to deserving students who meet the criteria set forth by the KCEA screening committee and have shown involvement and leadership in school and community activities. The event will be held at the Bluff Banquet Center at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5. For more information, please contact Ted O’Dell at KCEA, (616) 957-1944. Local winners of this year’s event are: Alexis Chaney-alternative education scholarship Christopher Newell-dependent scholarship Allison Stephens-dependent scholarship Allison McSweeney, fourth-year teacher-Sue Burt Scholarship
by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools As we all know, the state of Michigan’s economy is in crisis mode. Unemployment is over 11 percent, and sales from a variety of businesses are down. Both of these factors have resulted in a serious decline in revenues used to fund the state’s public schools. In late February, Governor Granholm declared that Michigan schools would receive $59 less per student in 2009-10 than they received in 2008-09. Then, in early March, the Governor announced that because of potential revenues from the Federal Stimulus Package, it is possible that the best case scenario for school funding might be a freeze rather than a reduction. Although a funding freeze is our best case scenario, our costs continue to rise, just as in your home or business, despite active efforts to contain them. In anticipation of a freeze in state funding, we project we will need to reduce our costs by $2.5 million in order to balance the 2009-10 budget. This number would be higher in the event of a funding reduction. We are committed to doing our very best to keep most of these reductions away from the classroom, but with 85 percent of our budget delegated to staffing, that will be difficult. For the past several months, we have been giving presentations to staff and parent organizations regarding Michigan’s serious economic crisis and its impact on all public schools. We have also reported to these groups that, prior to July 1, it will be necessary for the Board of Education and administration to reduce our costs by $2.5 million. We are currently identifying where those reductions will occur, and I will notify you through our webpage www.rockfordschools.org and the district newsletter The Rampage once the Board of Education has approved them. A frequently asked question during our public budget presentations involved using the revenues from the $45 million bond issue passed by voters last May to ease the funding shortfall from the state of Michigan. There is only one answer to this question: IT IS ILLEGAL TO CO-MINGLE FUNDS, such as revenues from the bond issue and general day-to-day operating funds. So, it is important to understand when you see new classrooms added to six of […]
The Rockford Board of Education issued the following summary of Superintendent Dr. Shibler’s performance evaluation, held on Monday, April 13, 2009 Rockford Public Schools reached two significant milestones this year: Rockford Public Schools will graduate its 125th class and Dr. Shibler will complete his twentieth year as superintendent. Dr. Shibler continued his professional and exemplary leadership of the district and he is generally considered the “dean” of superintendents in Kent County and throughout the State. We believe that among other things, his duties as an instructor of future educators has helped to sharpen his educational philosophy and knowledge.He is dedicated to his profession, our district, and the community; and he remains totally committed to the continuous improvement of the Rockford Public Schools. Some examples of this include his efforts as chair of the KISD grassroots network. Of course the Education Yes! grades for the district of all A’s for the fourth year in a row speaks volumes. Dr. Shibler’s voice is sought out and highly regarded within educational circles, as well as by the media, the Legislature and other external sources. He is a steadfast advocate for Rockford Public Schools but also public education in general. His leadership is superior both in his own actions as well as in his support of the leadership of his administration and staff. This year, Dr. Shibler led the development of RAMS VII, the seventh three-year strategic plan during his twenty years. In addition, with Meadow Ridge Elementary obtaining Blue Ribbon status, Dr. Shibler, has led the entire district to Blue Ribbon status. Dr. Shibler’s management skills and style are very structured and results oriented. His staff performs at a very high level. District goals are a high priority and the RAMS models have led to district success. Dr. Shibler utilizes his skills in all areas he operates, whether it be in the district, the community or even within the legislative arena. He is always looking to make Rockford Public Schools the best district in the state and this desire trickles down to all district staff. His focus on the district’s vision is inspiring. He is an excellent leader and manager. Dr. Shibler’s leadership prowess serves him well in all his professional relationships. Dr. Shibler continues to encourage, inspire and lead teachers, staff and administrators to reach their potential. Relationships with the board, administrators and staff, comunity leaders and legislators are all carefully cultivated by his words and actions. He has developed a sense of sensitivity and respect which encourages others to follow his lead. He has formed unique relationships with business, community, and legislative leaders through efforts above and beyond the immediate duties of his position. The personal qualities that Dr. Shibler possesses illustrate what makes him who he is and in turn what makes Rockford Public Schools the great school district that it is. He is confident, realistic, honest and highly trustworthy. His effort, passion and ability to execute the district’s plans are never questioned and never lacking. […]