By Doug Hoogerland, Principal, Roguewood Elementary It seems that over the past few decades our legislators have become education experts who set policy based on a “more is better” philosophy when in fact they are only using a Band-Aid approach to address a deeper, systemic problem. Fact is, legislators still avoid one of the primary factors, which research has shown to present itself in multiple areas (whether it’s education, eating habitats, healthy lifestyle, financial planning or even the level of the quality of parenting), and it’s poverty and/or socio-economic status. It’s right in front of us. Nevertheless, “The Elephant in the Room” is avoided and discounted in favor of expanding the school calendar, longer instructional days with more AND more testing, and pressuring parents to enroll their children in school settings at an earlier age. Oh, and what about this great idea legislators presented? Retaining 3rd grade students if they fail to meet the expectations on ONE test! These are a few of the most recent attempts of legislators (state and national) brandishing their new-found educational knowledge. With more and more legislative mandates attached to school funding, educators are hand-cuffed, in many respects, to comply with these requirements despite knowing there is a large body of evidence to the contrary. It wasn’t too long ago when kids in preschool, kindergarten, and even first and second grade spent a significant amount of their time playing throughout the school day constructing things with blocks, drawing or creating imaginary worlds all on their own, and then sharing with classmates. More and more, this practice and these activities are being abandoned for the teacher-led instruction used in the upper grades. The idea of starting sooner seems like the obvious fix to the legislators (add to it the idea of structuring every aspect of a child’s learning). What’s lost is an essential component to their development. Kids need to learn to endure, to control attention, to control emotion, and construct thoughts and ideas in a natural, uncontrived setting. Early on, they learn these things through play. Scientists have come to understand much more about how children learn. From birth through adolescence, most kids younger than 7 or 8 are better suited for active exploration. When educators are mandated to provide an educational […]
James “Isaac” Nelson, of Rockford, was chosen to be a member of the Olympic Development Program (ODP) soccer team for the state of Michigan. ODP is the program from which our Olympic Team is chosen. They pick a team at each age group and eventually, through much development, select the national team to represent our country in the Olympics. Isaac is eleven years old and is the only one to make it in his age group from the west part of the state. Statewide around 50 kids tried out in his age group and they selected the top 28 or so. Its pretty rare for kids to make it from the west side of the state since all the coaches are from the east side. He plays striker/forward and just finished 5th grade at Roguewood Elementary. He played 5 years for Flying Kick soccer club and this year will be playing for Alliance FC. “It’s a huge honor,” described Tim. “Needless to say, he was delighted.” Nelson admitted that “Dad shed a tear of pride and joy for him. He has worked hard and absolutely loves this sport. He plays with joy and passion.”
Young man is friend to many and defender to those in need Jason Whittaker, 11, is the son of Dean and Sandi Whittaker and brother to Olivia, Claire and Elise. He is a well-liked student at Roguewood, where classmates describe him as conscientious, responsible, hardworking, organized and a young man with leadership abilities. Jason is often asked by teachers to help other students who may be struggling with their studies. A generous student, Jason serves as a school safety. His responsibilities include escorting kindergarteners to and from their classrooms and assisting them in the lunchroom. A hard worker, Jason always strives to improve. He focuses on the quality of his work, his relationships with his friends, and in his leadership in athletics. He is motivated by the satisfaction of giving his best effort. Classmates say that Jason is a friend to many and defender of those in need. In first grade he even earned a “Best Friend Award.” He is an Explore student at Roguewood. Not just academically, but athletically, Jason’s efforts to do his best are apparent. His athletic achievements include his All Star baseball team that made it to the District IX championship game in the summer of 2010. Jason’s love of sports has led him to serve as quarterback in football, center in basketball, and pitcher and third baseman in baseball. Whatever sport Jason is currently playing seems to be his favorite. He also enjoys hunting with his dad. In addition to school and sports, Jason is also very active in Crossroads Church. Roguewood Elementary School is proud to have Jason as their Example in Excellence in 2011.
Rockford’s Odyssey of the Mind teams were among competitors for state titles on Saturday, April 16, and 10 of the 11 teams sent to state finals placed in sixth and above. Five teams placed third to sixth, receiving honorable mention status at state finals, and five teams will be advancing to world finals, placing first or second. This is another record set for Rockford Odyssey of the Mind, 10 out of 11 teams receiving honors. The Cannonsburg Elementary B team took ninth and was coached by Susan Witte. With this accomplishment, the team did not place but still scored a top 10 win. The Cannonsburg Elementary team A took a sixth-place win under the direction of Coach Karen Dufendach. This earned them an honorable mention. The Valley View Elementary team A had an amazing performance which won them a third-place win. They were coached by Joan Lawton and earned the placement of bronze medalists. North Rockford Middle School’s team C earned a sixth-place win. They are coached by Joni Colovos, Shari Waldvogel and Michele Ferguson. This earned them an honorable mention. Rockford High School took third place and were recognized as bronze medalists. Roguewood Elementary team A earned a fifth-place win under Coach Wendy Goushaw. They also earned an honorable mention. North Rockford Middle School’s (NRMS) A team brought home an amazing second-place win under Coach Catherine Behrendt and will continue on as a world finalist team. North Rockford Middle School’s B team also wowed judges and brought them a second-place win under Coach Deb Playford. They will also go on to compete as a world finalist team. Belmont Elementary earned their place in world competition by taking a first-place win under Coach Terry Younker. Also going on to compete in the world finals was the Roguewood Elementary B team with a stunning first-place win under the guidance of Coach Jen Masternak. Finally, the East Rockford Middle School team, which also has NRMS team members, brought home highest honors with a first-place win under Coach Sue Hagedorn. They will be joining the Rockford “crowd” that will compete against other Odyssey of the Mind teams from around the globe as a world finalist team. The following teams were recognized with special awards: • Roguewood Elementary team […]
Upgrade Recently I had the pleasure of an hour spent in the hope of finding my replacement when I retire from writing this column. The process involved a lot of give and take about ideas for the column and how I come up with them. It’s not an easy job finding someone who can spread a little humor in the world. Checking out writers is serious business, even though the writing topic may not be especially serious. I may have some prospects. I’m referring to the 30 kids in Conrad Klima’s fourth-grade class at Roguewood Elementary. Mr. Klima is teaching them about writing. I talked to all of them. It would please me if one of them had his or her name at the top of this column someday. It may take a few years, but “be prepared” is a good plan for all of us. Amazing #1 It’s wonderful to actually see improvement in the human condition, even though the quality of life varies by geography. In developed countries, at least, our world has escaped from the hard, slow, messy dependence on literal horse power. I’m old enough to remember the remnants of it. (Watch where you step!) As we move to electric cars powered by renewable sources, it seems amazing that all this happened in just about one century. Amazing #2 After years of hard work, an ambitious yuppie books himself on a Caribbean cruise. He has the time of his life until the boat sinks and he ends up on an island. After a month of barely surviving on coconuts, the man looks out to sea and sees a gorgeous woman rowing to shore. He asks her where she’s come from. “I was shipwrecked last year,” she says. “I’ve been stranded around on the other side of the island.” “Where did you get the rowboat?” “I made it out of gum trees and palm branches,” she replies. “But you had no tools!” “I used volcanic rocks to whittle the wood and eucalyptus jelly as glue.” The woman takes the man to the other side of the island and leads him into an elaborate bungalow with ceiling fans and furniture she made out of vines. The man can’t believe his eyes. They sit down, […]