Rockford Public Schools


July 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

How to Help Prevent Summer Regression by KIRSTEN MYERS Executive Director of Special Services Rockford Public Schools While summer vacation is a highlight for any child and family, it is also a time when students forget a good deal of what they learned the previous school year. As a result, the first several weeks of each new school year is spent on assessing where students are in relationship to where they should be coming into the next grade level. This can be challenging to both parents and teachers alike as many weeks are spent reviewing and recouping literacy and numeracy skills lost over the summer vacation. Helping your child to retain what they learned last year doesn’t mean a summer vacation full of hours spent crying over worksheets, tutoring or taking classes. There are several ways, noted below, in which parents can help prevent their child from losing information that they learned during the previous grade. It is as simple as spending 20 to 30 minutes per day on a few mathematical equations coupled with time spent reading high interest books. Tablets or Computers—An easy and motivating way to retain skills is to have your child play educational games on a tablet or computer. The Educational Freeware website,, provides users with reviews of the best free learning games, software and websites. Additionally, Kahn Academy, offers over 3,200 videos on everything from arithmetic to physics and offers hundreds of skills to practice. With Kahn Academy, students can review previous skills and prepare for the next school year while working at their own pace. Free Worksheets—There are several numeracy and literacy websites online that offer free printable worksheets. You can find specific skill worksheets by typing your child’s grade followed by the term “free math/literacy worksheets” into your search bar, and you will have a plethora of worksheets to choose from. Simply print the worksheets and allocate a small amount of time each day to work on them. Workbooks—One of the easiest ways to help a child retain the information they learned last year is to purchase a skills workbook at your local bookstore. Educational workbooks are easy to find as they are nearly always labeled by grade level. The Library—Reading is critical for students as […]

ERMS recognized as ‘No Place for Hate’

July 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools Rockford Public Schools Spurred by the work of the Rockford Public Schools anti-bullying committee, East Rockford Middle School (ERMS) began the 2011-12 school year seeking to become a “No Place for Hate” school. No Place for Hate is an initiative of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which provides support to schools as they work to celebrate diversity and improve a culture of respect. The process to become a No Place for Hate school involves the establishment of a coalition that plans and executes a minimum of three activities to promote acceptance and tolerance. Another requirement is signing the “Resolution of Respect,” in which students indicate their desire to treat others well and their intent to report bullying. The coalition at ERMS consists of staff members and parents, who solicited input from students in planning activities. This year’s qualifying activities included a “Mix It Up at Lunch Day,” “Be Nice Day,” and “Celebrate Diversity Day.”  For “Mix It Up at Lunch,” the cafeteria was rearranged and decorated, and students were creatively assigned to tables. Student leaders sat at each table to facilitate discussion among the students and everyone received ice cream to celebrate. On “Be Nice Day,” all staff members and Teen Leadership students wore shirts that read “Be nice” and welcomed students with candy, high fives and handshakes. To celebrate diversity, sixth- and seventh-graders watched the movie “Remember the Titans” and participated in follow-up discussion and activities in their homeroom classes. ERMS and the No Place for Hate coalition have organized other activities to combat bullying and celebrate respect, and will continue the process by including an educational assembly about cyber-bullying, allowing students to nominate and recognize their classmates for acts of kindness, decorating the halls with smiley faces and positive messages, having students sign the “Resolution of Respect” banner, giving students bracelets that read “No Place for Hate,” and discouraging the use of defamatory terms. The school was also recognized as a model school by the organization Teaching Tolerance for its organization of “Mix It Up at Lunch Day” in October 2011. ERMS plans to continue to build and improve the programs to eliminate bullying and encourage diversity, acceptance and tolerance of one another, allowing students to […]

Rockford Area Historical Society News & Update

July 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

by TERRY KONKLE President, Rockford Area Historical Society Several people have contacted me asking if I could do a column about Thor. Because many readers may not know about Thor, let’s ask the following “Nugget of Rockford History” question:  Who was Thor? Contact me at (616) 866-0530 with your answer and also with your Thor stories. With your help, the story of Thor can be presented and another positive part of our area history can be revealed. Last week I mentioned that the Rockford High School class of 1962 was inducted into the “Golden R” on Saturday, June 30, 2012. Many 1962 graduates attended the luncheon during the afternoon, and then the held their own reunion that evening at the Rockford Sportsman’s Club. As the advisor to the class, I attended both events. My wife also was at the two functions, and we agreed that the day was an enjoyable one for us. Both of us consider many of the members of the 1962 class our friends because we have known and remained in contact with many of them over the years. Some of them babysat our children while others worked in the area, and Bruce VanWingen became a teacher at Rockford High School and was a colleague for years. He even introduced me to computer possibilities in the year 2000. On the night of the reunion, we met many class members and shared lots of history. Their experiences were interesting to learn about and covered all facets of life. It did seem to me that laughter and good feelings were quite prominent. I spoke with many of them, and wish that I could have talked with more. The class to me was and always will be special. They have certainly made their mark on the world! Several members of the class were very interested in our new museum project and stated that they intended to make donations. I found this very positive because when they were in school, Rockford did not have a museum. They just want to help. Many offered auction ideas and wished us luck with it. Some, who live in the area, will hopefully donate their items. Last week, I was asked when the auction would take place. The answer is: […]


July 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

SCHOOL BEAT A Foundation for Motivation by ADAM BURKHOLDER Assistant Principal Rockford High School Motivating students, increasing self-esteem, and assisting in the building of a foundation for successful individuals are endeavors, or achievements, I take pride in as a professional and as a parent. Striving to always be better, I am continuously looking for ways to improve who I am and what I am doing for students and my children alike. My constant pursuit led me to a book I’ve completed for the second time. The book is titled “Mindset,” and the main idea presented is to acknowledge the effort your students and children put into something rather than stating how good, how smart, how talented they may be. Author Carol Dweck has devoted her career to the psychology behind the success of individuals. Focusing on how an individual can grow what they are naturally good at is at the forefront of her research. Her ideas challenged me to look at how I receive feedback/constructive criticism, how I give it, and how I can further benefit from feedback and results in general. Dweck provides examples to the reader of different individuals who have characterized both forms of mindset. John McEnroe is a prime example of someone who embodies the fixed mindset. When things were going well on the court, he and his talents were responsible for his success, but when he was losing it was his opponent’s fault, the referee’s fault, the weather conditions, the fans, or his trainer. The bottom line is that it was never his fault that he wasn’t succeeding. On the other end of the spectrum is Jackie Joyner Kersee. She is one of the most celebrated Olympic athletes in having earned a total of six Olympic medals in three different events, three of which were gold, one silver, and two bronze. Of these accomplishments, personally she is most proud of her bronze medal earned at the age 34 while competing in the long jump competition. More work went into earning that bronze medal than any of those she had previously won. This exemplifies the growth mindset. A brief overview of the book “Mindset” can be found at and a portion of it has been provided below: “In a fixed […]


July 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

The Cost of Athletics by MIKE CUNEO Assistant Superintendent of Finance Rockford Public Schools  When we think of June, parents, students and staff are thinking about the end of the school year and making plans for a well-deserved summer break. June is, however, the time of year when we are planning the budget for the next school year and revising the current school year budget. The fiscal year of the school district is July 1 to June 30. As mandated by law, we are required to submit to the Board of Education for formal adoption the revised general fund budget of the 2011-12 school year and the proposed general fund budget for the 2012-13 school year. Preparation and planning of the general fund budget encompasses revenues received from state and federal sources and expenditures for the district’s instructional programs and support services, which include operations and maintenance, transportation, community services as well as the athletic program. One question that is often asked is, “What is the cost of athletics to the district?” During the 2011-12 school year, over 30 varsity sports were offered to students through the district’s athletic program with more than 2,600 secondary students participating. Revenue received from the various sports encompasses gate receipts, student fees for pay-to-participate and donations. The total revenue for the 2011-12 school year was $452,838. Expenditures for the athletic program include salaries for coaches, cost of officials and game staff, tournament fees and travel expenses, as well as equipment, supplies and uniforms. The total expenditures for the 2011-12 school year were $1,264,508. As you can see, the costs of the athletic program are higher than the revenues received. The difference of $811,670 is covered by a general fund subsidy. This amount equates to 1.1% of the total overall general fund budget of $70+ million. While the dollar amount may seem large as a percentage of the overall general fund budget, it is a very small percentage. As the Board of Education has implemented budget reductions over the last few years, all programs have been impacted, including athletics. With assistance from the Sports Boosters and community, the district has been able to minimize the impact of cuts to the program. Their generous donations and support have covered the cost […]

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