Rockford Public Schools


August 30, 2012 // 0 Comments

The School Year Begins by CAROL A. HILLMAN President, Board of Education Rockford Public Schools Welcome to the 2012-2013 school year. On a personal note, my two daughters will be in the same building for the first time in two years and I’m hoping that makes things a little less complicated. Time will tell… My past presidency was during the 2007-2008 school year when the bond issue was passed. Because of your vote of confidence at that time, we have and are still continuing to make capital improvements to our district. Due to our prudent spending, an excellent bidding environment, and capable teams of designers and construction workers, our facilities provide wonderful opportunities for our students and our many community education offerings. Because we are the recreation department of the Rockford community, our facilities are used literally from birth to retirement ages and, specifically in the school day for preschool through 12th grade. It is rewarding to know that these well-thought-out plans have allowed for improvements above and beyond our expectations. Thank you for your trust in these endeavors. I hope you take the time to tour the district as a point of pride for our community. Facilities are important, yes. But of the utmost importance is the growth and development we expect to occur for your child(ren) this year. Relationships in their classes (teachers, parapros, specialists, and fellow classmates), co-curricular choices, and friendships are key to a successful year. Please be sure to attend parent-teacher conferences and volunteer in co-curricular or classroom settings whenever possible. In addition to parent involvement, the people of Rockford contribute to our students’ success. Retired members of the community are also welcome to be involved. It does take a village to raise a child, and I am proud to have Rockford be the village my family chooses to have our daughters experience their opportunities in school. I trust you will take the initiative to assist your child(ren) to make the most of this year for academic, life-skills, character-building, physical, social, and emotional growth. Welcome to the 2012-13 school year. Go Rams!


August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

Bus Safety, How Closing School or Implementing a Two-Hour Delay is Determined by JAMIE HOSFORD Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources Rockford Public Schools I hope you and your family are having a wonderful summer. I had several telephone conversations at the end of the 2011-2012 school year regarding the process followed when the district implements a two-hour delay and/or closes school due to inclement weather. As a result of those conversations (even though you’ll be reading this in the summer!), I would like to explain the process we follow when making a decision to deviate from the normal school hours. Rockford Public Schools clearly understands the issues a snow day and/or two-hour delay causes students, parents and staff. The decision to close school or implement a two-hour delay is based on the safety of our students, parents and staff. We have an employee who is responsible for checking roads and driving conditions, beginning as early as 3:00 a.m. during the late fall and winter months. This person drives throughout the 100 square miles of the district, checking for problematic roads—gravel roads, as well as main thoroughfares. In some cases, driving conditions can vary greatly from one side of our district to the other. Beginning around 5:00 a.m., the person checking our roads is in constant contact with me (Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources), Jacquie Fase (Director of Transportation), and in many cases the Kent County Road Commission and local weather stations, as well as transportation departments of other districts. Collectively, they share information received and a recommendation is made to Superintendent Shibler. Our goal is to make a decision to close school or implement a two-hour delay prior to 5:30 a.m. so parents may make plans for the day. However, the weather may become inclement later in the early morning and, as a result, the decision to close or implement a delay becomes more complicated. WZZM 13, FOX 17 WXMI and WOOD TV 8, as well as our district Web page at, have updated information regarding school closings and/or delays. In addition, you may contact our Transportation Department at (616) 863-6328 or Central Office Administration at (616) 863-6320 any time you have questions. Driving school buses through snow is not a problem for the drivers […]

Students learn about capturing nature’s bounty

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

Students in the Earth Keepers Magnet at East Rockford Middle School (ERMS) spent last school year on a variety of projects to learn about responsible earth keeping. As a service-learning project, the 55 students identified the need to limit the amount of storm water runoff that was entering the nearby Bostwick Lake through ERMS parking lot drains. “We just looked for the areas that the water was running to after a rain,” stated student Emma Wilkinson. During the school year the students heard from guest speakers from West Michigan Environmental Action Council and the River City Wild Ones about how planting a rain garden would improve water quality. With the help of Tom Laage, brother of teacher Linda Spencer, the chosen area was excavated and prepared for planting. Students removed rocks from the site and used them to create a rock drainage swale in another area and spread seven yards of hardwood mulch to prepare the site. “Mr. Mike and Ms. Amy helped us pick out the plants so we had plants that could survive. Some of them have very long roots so they can really soak up the water,” said student Meriah Gannon. Most of the plants were purchased with a grant that teachers Spencer and Barb Altizer were awarded from GROUNDSWELL, a coalition of community partners that is focused on improving the Great Lakes Watershed through hands-on learning opportunities. The Earth Keepers partnered with the Baldwin Foundation, Amy Heilman of River City Wild Ones, Michael Bruggink of Fenview Landscape Design, and Nate Haan of Calvin College to plan, design and plant the rain garden. “Did you know that storm water is emptied directly into our waterways?” asked sixth-grader Casey Lenon, who went on to explain, “All that stuff that is on the pavement and roof top is channeled right to our waters and is called non-point source pollution!” On June 5, the students planted the 150+ plants and labeled them with plans to add to the garden in the future. Student Josh Wittenbach explained, “A rain garden will filter the oils and other pollutants out of the water so they never make it to the lake.” The students were excited to complete the garden and look forward to seeing it grow over their […]

RHS September 11 Tribute

August 9, 2012 // 0 Comments

by DAN ZANG Principal, Rockford High School “Our enemies have made the mistake that America’s enemies always make. They saw liberty and thought they saw weakness,” President George W. Bush. Very shortly we will start a new academic year at Rockford High School (RHS). It is very exciting to see not only our students come back to campus but to also welcome countless parents, guests and visitors. We are very proud of our longstanding tradition of excellence at Rockford Public Schools and our facility here at RHS. All who visit will soon see a patriotic display in remembrance of the September 11 attack on the United States. We were looking to redesign our front main office foyer at the high school and wanted it to be a theme that symbolized the spirit and resolve of our great country. As building principal at RHS, I have been involved and played witness to great events here at our school. Our staff and students are involved in many great causes here in Rockford, Kent County, and beyond. One such project our students were involved in last year was the West Michigan Healing Fields located at Cannonsburg Ski Area. Our students assisted in carrying and setting some of the 3,200 flags representing the lives lost on that somber day. Although many of our students were too young to recall exact memories of the attack, they were certainly aware of the impact on our country. All of our students were proud to have served in the Healing Fields project. Many flags from the Healing Fields project will be proudly displayed at RHS. Four flags will be incorporated into our design in the front foyer. These flags were ceremonially folded by members of the U.S. Marine Corps and placed in flag displays. The flags are in loving memory of four New York residents whose lives were lost on Sept. 11, 2001: Jason DeFazio, 29, Ivan Perez, 37, Michael Weinberg, 34, and William Wik, 44. Other facts and points of pride regarding our display include: •            RHS Art students, under the direction of RHS Art Instructor Barb Kent, created the vision and shared in the design of the project. •            Hands spell out COURAGE in American Sign Language to represent how our […]

Valley View presents Johnson as Example in Excellence

August 2, 2012 // 0 Comments

Student’s positive joy for life has great impact on classmates, teachers Mavis Johnson is the daughter of  Chuck and Sheryl Johnson and sister to Cailie, Clifton and Madelyne. Mavis is an exemplary leader who sets the bar high by her example. She continually uses the life skills of patience, respect, perseverance, flexibility, friendship and effort on a daily basis. Her spark and smile never falter, even when the going gets tough. Teachers and staff at Valley View Elementary can always count on Mavis to volunteer when help is needed or one of her peers need assistance. She also contributes in class where her positive approach becomes contagious. It is not long before her fellow classmates catch some of her spirit and “can-do” attitude. Described as a delightful student, Mavis displays a positive joy for life and has a great impact on her classmates and teachers. At Valley View, Mavis is a servant leader for the school store as she assists the other students with a smile once again. As a Safety for her school, Mavis takes her role very seriously. As with her studies, she is punctual and responsible in that role as well. Mavis is especially nurturing with younger students. Mavis’ leadership transcends the classroom and school setting as well. She participates in many activities, including soccer and volleyball. Mavis is her brother and sister’s biggest fan as they pursue their own athletic careers. Mavis loves animals, as is evidenced by having two dogs and three cats that she independently cares for. Finally, Mavis wants to be a mom and a teacher when she grows up—more evidence of her servant leadership attitude. Mavis helps to make Valley View the special school family that it is. For all her fine qualities, Mavis Johnson is clearly an Example in Excellence at Valley View Elementary School.

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