School Beat

School Beat — October 15, 2009

October 15, 2009 // 0 Comments

Keeping our schools safe and secure by CHARLIE BROWN Director of Security Rockford Public Schools As a result of the recent national news stories about school safety, we want to assure you that the security and well-being of our students and staff are of the most importance at Rockford Public Schools (RPS). Staff and students practice and train regularly for a variety of simulated crisis situations. Our district works with local fire and law enforcement organizations to prevent, prepare and respond to emergency situations. Parents, students and the community that we serve are also important and valued partners in school safety by helping watch for suspicious activity and issues of concern and reporting them promptly. Please report any concerns to your school administrator or local law enforcements. Reports can also be made anonymously to Silent Observer at 1-866-774-2345. Silent Observer can now receive text messages from those wishing to do so. Simply text “Tip 138” plus your message to CRIMES (274637). The keyword “Tip 138” must appear on the first line of the text message in order to reach Silent Observer. Drugs, weapons, fights, vandalism and larceny—the consequences for students involved in these activities are severe and can include expulsion and prosecution. In addition to prompt and appropriate reports of concerns and rumors, we also encourage families to monitor student Internet use, and to remind students that information posted on social networking sites is public. It can be a cause for concern and may have legal consequences.

School Beat – October 1, 2009

October 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

Freshman Center now on Twitter by DOUG VANDERJAGT Principal, Rockford Freshman Center With the information age all around us, keeping our parents and other community members informed about school building news is very important. Students are actively using all the technology they can get their hands on. Texting, blogs, Facebook, MySpace, and now Twitter—people all over are keeping in contact with world around them. Finding the best method to keep staff informed can be difficult. As Rockford Public Schools adapts to the new technology, the Freshman Center introduces its Twitter page to keep parents up-to-date on the latest news and happenings at the ninth-grade campus. With the creation of FreshmanCenter on, the administration will circulate key messages already posted on the district’s website, in e-newsletters, blogs and videos. We will now be able to communicate such things as school closings or delays and post reminders about scheduled calendar changes. As a popular free social networking and micro-blogging service, Twitter enables users to send and read each other’s updates, known as “tweets.” These tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters, displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to other users, known as followers, who have subscribed to them. The service is free over the Internet, and we are inviting all Rockford community members to join Twitter and add the Freshman Center as a site they would like to follow. Academic awards, technology updates to the classrooms, marking-period timelines, and other everyday building activities will be posted. The site,, is now up and running to provide you with the latest in curriculum, construction projects, and calendar information.

School Beat – September 24, 2009

September 24, 2009 // 0 Comments

Help your child build for success by JULIE DEVEREAUX Principal, Meadow Ridge Elementary A good part of success in life is to be able to set goals and then be able to attain them. During a lifetime, goals will vary from being able to tie your shoes to creating a new medical cure that will affect millions. As a parent, you have the power to teach your child the important components necessary to set goals and reach them. As we begin another school year, it is your choice as a parent to support your child’s learning, school year, and their success. Here are some suggestions to consider: • Let your child know that school is a priority. • Make attendance job number one. • Listen carefully and let them share school happenings every day. • Show you care and that you are interested in their learning. • Talk about what they are going to learn and how it will be important later in their life. • Encourage your child to treat studying as a daily routine. • Set a time and a place for studying to happen. • Spend a few minutes each evening looking over any paperwork that your child brings home. • Let your child’s teacher know if you can help them out, at school or home. • Communicate with your child’s teacher(s) on a regular basis. • Talk about responsibility and explain what it looks like at their age in life. As a parent, you are the most important role model for your children. Show them what that responsibility looks like in your life. By example is the strongest way to teach. Help your child think about choosing goals for home and school; write those goals down. Be sure to notice and praise when you see them working on their goals. Help and encourage your child to follow through. Talk about the things that you see them doing that will help them achieve their goals. Celebrate when goals are accomplished! Talk about how they feel when they are responsible and achieve their goals. Help them enjoy their success.

School Beat – September 3, 2009

September 3, 2009 // 0 Comments

Three issues demand attention, time by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D.  Superintendent of Schools Rockford Public Schools With the passing of each year, the summer months seem to fly by faster than in previous years even though each day of each year has the same number of minutes and hours! It is hard to believe that I have the privilege of beginning my 21st year as superintendent of the Rockford Public Schools (RPS). Where did the first 20 years go? While I realize we have together accomplished many good things for RPS kids, I also realize we have many more yet to accomplish. This summer has been very busy with many issues demanding our attention and time. In this article, I want to touch on three of those issues: bond issue projects, financial challenges, and the district’s new website. Bond Issue Projects If you will recall, the 2008 bond issue was designed to accomplish three major projects: add four to eight classrooms to six of our eight elementary schools, update instructional technology in all schools, and add 20 recreational/athletic fields throughout the school district. Many of these projects are either in the planning stages or nearing completion. For example, additional classrooms at Cannonsburg, Lakes and Roguewood elementaries are well underway. New carpeting is being laid throughout the high school—believe it or not, the high school is over 16 years old! The tennis courts at North Rockford Middle School and the high school are being replaced, and construction of athletic fields at the high school, East Rockford Middle School and Roguewood Elementary are ahead of schedule. Upgrades in instructional technology will continue throughout the summer. Comprehensive improvements to Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium took place this summer, with the installation of a multi-purpose synthetic field for use by the marching band, along with football, lacrosse, track, and other student-athletes. The new technology in athletic fields is called Mondo turf, which utilizes an environmentally friendly, bio-degradable substance called Eco-fill. The rededication of “The Ted” is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 3, prior to the Rockford-Holt varsity football game. I hope you can attend. All other 2008 bond issue projects are in the planning or early development stages. Please refer to the district’s webpage at for ongoing progress reports. Financial Challenges […]

School Beat – August 20, 2009

August 20, 2009 // 0 Comments

What makes a good coach by TIM ERICKSON  Director of Athletics Rockford High School As I pass by the students each day, many of them greet me with, “Hey Coach!” or, “What’s up, Coach E?” Although I have not actually called the plays or paced the sidelines for several years, I still do some coaching—but now, instead of coaching the players and teams, I am honored to coach the coaches. So what makes a good coach? Each year we receive thousands of perceivers completed by our athletes and parents to help assist me in evaluating the coaching staff. Although all coaches receive some positive—as well as some negative—feedback, there are some characteristics that stand out in our most effective coaches. A successful coach understands how to communicate with players in a way that gets results. The goal of coaching is to guide, inspire and empower the athlete to realize and develop his or her potential. The following is a list of some of the common characteristics of our most effective coaches: Has Good Communication Skills—An effective coach knows how to explain drills and plays so that all team members can understand the directions. In addition, and perhaps even more importantly, effective communication skills include being a good listener. Good coaches seek out feedback from their players and parents. Is Respected—The effective coach leads by example. A good coach follows the same rules which he/she expects of the players. Therefore, a coach who wants respect also needs to show respect; a coach who expects players to remain positive needs to display a positive attitude; and a coach who wants athletes to listen needs to listen to the players. Athletes need to follow a reasonable set of rules both on and off the field. Effective coaches handle violations in a prompt and fair manner while being consistent with all athletes. Knows the Sport—A great coach has a deep understanding of the sport, from the fundamental skills to advanced tactics and strategy. Coaches may have experience playing, but not all former players make good coaches. Coaches must plan for the season and each practice. They need to know and understand the rules. Even the most experienced coaches must continue to learn and develop new training techniques. Attending coaching clinics […]

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