School Beat

School Beat — November 18, 2009

November 18, 2009 // 0 Comments

Look for the silver lining by JACQUIE FASE Director of Transportation “How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” —Dr. Seuss. Generally speaking, I’m a fairly positive person. I look for the silver lining, sport my rose-colored glasses, and believe that my coffee mug is always half full. As the scholarly Dr. Seuss once said, “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way!” I see this mantra embedded in the “Rockford Ram Culture” through its inspiring teachers, motivational administrators, and through all the great staff members, parents, coaches and volunteers. The transportation department believes in obtaining this level of positivity and enthusiasm as well, because each department is an essential aspect of the greater Rockford Public Schools (RPS) family. We believe that character-building goes far beyond the classroom, so just as the teachers uphold an expectation of behavior and safety, the bus drivers do as well. As the leaves fall and the bus garage prepares for yet another Michigan winter, I can’t help but reflect on how quickly the past 15 years have gone. Just like you, I have climbed several mountains with my children, whether it be the frantic, last-minute poster board presentation, the issue of affordable prom dresses and cool jeans, or the bully on the bus. However, I was never alone with my goal to instill positive character traits within my kids, and I’m thankful for the support of the RPS community. As a member of the transportation department, I want to encourage you to seize the moment, “climb the mountain,” seek out support, and get involved as well. For over a decade I have been a member of the extended Rockford High School family. In 2011 my youngest son will graduate, and my years as a band, choir, theatre, swim, and polo parent will come to an end. I’m not sure what I’ll do with all my spare time! Who will I make cupcakes for? Will I miss the countless hours spent behind the concession stand? Will I not have the opportunity to buy yet another Rams sweatshirt or sell […]

School Beat — November 11, 2009

November 11, 2009 // 0 Comments

Prepare your child to deal with life by DOUG HOOGERLAND, Principal Crestwood Elementary School Imagine your mother or father calling your college professor in hopes of learning the reason you earned a B- in Intro to Psychology, or calling your boss demanding to find out why you weren’t promoted, and then calling your dentist to find out why she chose not to use silver amalgam for your filling. Wouldn’t it be great to have our mom or dad take care of the issues we didn’t want to deal with in college or now, like scheduling routine appointments, securing student loans, calling repair services to take care of the car or the furnace, or even the dreaded filing of taxes? Or when we are sick, to have mom there, even now. I know when I am ill, I want my mom there taking care of me. Just her presence seems to make some of the hurt go away. Nevertheless, isn’t there a point in our lives when it is time for our parents to hand over the reins; for us to take ownership and responsibility for our own lives? Is there a single age or is it little by little that our parents release their hold and hope they’ve done their jobs well? When do parents allow us to be independent? Exactly how are we supposed to know how to deal with all of the unpredictability that life throws at us, if they have never allowed us some control? When does a parent’s control begin to interfere with their child’s future ability to learn from their own mistakes, find different or better ways to do things, find answers, discover, experience, learn, or make decisions? Of course parents need to be “in control” of their children, for example, to protect them, feed them nutritious meals, enforce bedtimes, say “no” when necessary, teach and model appropriate behaviors, and get them to the dentist whether the kids like it or not. But when is there too much parental control? If our children are placed in situations or experiences where everything has been orchestrated by parents, how is it possible to learn the important aspects of growing up and gaining independence? A parent who rescues their child from a friendship conflict, […]

School Beat — November 5, 2009

November 5, 2009 // 0 Comments

Bus safety, determining delays, school closings by JAMIE HOSFORD Assistant Superintendent Human Resources Welcome to another school year. We look forward to many successes for you and your children throughout the 2009-2010 school year. The Rockford educational community, along with the entire Rockford community, is truly a special place to live, grow and learn. It is hard to believe we are looking at fall (fog) and winter (snow and ice) weather already. Where does time go? Please read the information below as a reminder of how/why we decide to delay the opening of school or close school for the day. Rockford Public Schools (RPS) 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), Director of Transportation Jacquie Fase, 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 Michael 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 […]

School Beat — October 29, 2009

October 29, 2009 // 0 Comments

Rockford Intramural program offers many opportunities by MIKE WESTGATE Assistant Principal East Rockford Middle School A comprehensive education calls for learning both in and outside the classroom. Co-curricular activities are not a diversion but rather an extension of a good educational program. Study after study shows that students who participate in these types of activities tend to have higher grade-point averages, better attendance records, lower dropout rates and fewer discipline problems than students generally. For these reasons (and many more), Rockford Public Schools offers a wide variety of co-curricular activities to promote active student participation. An opportunity you may not know enough about is our outstanding secondary Intramural program. Rockford’s Intramural program started in 1992 as an after-school basketball league at the high school. It has since evolved into more than 20 organized activities at all four secondary buildings in the district. Some of the successful opportunities have included: water polo, dodgeball, “Forrest Gump” Ping-Pong, snow football, golf, cross country, Guitar Hero, and archery, just to name a few. The philosophy is to maximize participation and accommodate a wide range of interests and abilities by offering team and individual activities to all secondary students. District Intramural Coordinator Adam Burkholder continues to look for ways to meet the needs of our students and provide these types of co-curricular activities. His primary objective is to increase student involvement with a safe, fun and positive experience. Most of these activities are organized and supervised by Rockford teachers and coaches who share that passion for getting our kids involved. For more information on Rockford’s many Intramural opportunities, check out the Intramurals page under Athletics at

School Beat — October 22, 2009

October 22, 2009 // 0 Comments

Your tax dollars… thank you! by CAROL HILLMAN Board of Education Trustee Every school year, the staff for the Rockford School District begins with a kick-off morning at Rockford High School. Support and teaching staff, along with administration and the school board, congregate in the auditorium and a motivating, fun-filled, informative event occurs. It’s a super way to get the engines running again on behalf of the students for the school year. It is planned in such a way that the entire staff looks forward to the morning, rather than feeling like “just one more meeting.” A statistic raised this year by Dr. Ryan Kelley sparked the writing of this article. Although the expansion of our athletic fields seems to be the most visible improvement to our district due to the bond passage in 2008, it represents the smallest amount of money devoted to improvements to our district. Only 13% of the money you voted to support our district’s constant desire to improve is supporting the wonderful additions to the athletic facilities for the school system. Another 17% of the bond is devoted to technology enhancements for our staff and students. Your tax dollars are a huge morale booster for our teachers to begin this school year. What a point of pride it is for them to have teaching materials like projector systems and audio enhancements that stimulate them, and allow the students to become more computer/technology savvy as well. Thanks to you, the tax supporter for education in our district, this is a reality in most of our buildings this year, and in all by next fall. The majority of the community supported the bond passage, of which 70% is devoted to new classrooms and renovations for the existing buildings that serve this district. It’s the “meat and potatoes” of what we need to continue to meet the needs of the students we serve. I invite you to take a personal tour of the district and, yes, look at the great new fields, but look a little deeper (like in the back) and discover the additions being built. One example alone—Cannonsburg Elementary, which is basically doubling in size—is so exciting to see. You deserve a bird’s-eye view of your tax dollars at work. Not […]

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