Have a safe, enjoyable summer vacation! by LAURA FEATHERSTON Trustee, Board of Education I can’t even believe it. As I write this, there are only five days of school left. It is such a trite thing to say, but it seems like just last week we had our welcome back assembly for the staff, the first day after Labor Day was fast approaching and I was rushing to Meijer to get school supplies. Last weekend, I was trying to find an open weekend on the summer calendar to get together with out-of-town friends. While I am excited for all the great things our family has planned, I was stressed out that there were only a few weekends that weren’t booked with graduation parties, camping trips and other “events.” So now I’ve made a conscious effort not to plan out every free moment and to leave some time for impromptu fun. Last-minute trips to the lake, bike rides and hikes on the trails, and just hanging out at home lead to just as great of memories as the planned out, “space reserved” and “tickets bought” events that fill the calendar. I hope everyone in the Rockford Public Schools community has a great summer. Students and families, enjoy the great weather and spending time together without the worries of schoolwork and a rigid schedule. Staff, I hope you get some well-deserved rest and relaxation, and I look forward to seeing you next fall. Construction crews who will be busy making significant changes to all the sites around the district, well, I don’t want you to relax, so keep up the good work! And to the 2009 graduates, I wish you all success in whatever path you are headed. September 8 will be here quickly, and many of us will be back into the school routine before that. So make it a great break, and no matter how you spend it, be safe and capture lots of memories.
Going home for summer by CHARLIE BROWN Director of Security Rockford Public Schools Going home for summer may be hard to get used to for students and parents. Your parents may want you home at a certain time. Your parents may not want you to sleep until 1:00 p.m. every day, but you feel that you deserve a break since you worked so hard during the school year. These kinds of disagreements can easily escalate into full blown fights and make summer break disastrous for everyone involved. Here is how to prevent arguments with your parents and have an enjoyable summer break. Initiate discussion-When you go home for summer break and your parents treat you like a child, ask if they have time to sit down and discuss some independence issues you are having. By having an adult conversation with them, they will realize that you are not a child anymore and should start treating you like a responsible adult. Compromise-Having an adult relationship with your parents means being able to compromise. If your parents want you home by curfew, try to bargain with them by telling them you will call when you are going to be late. If your parents let you borrow the family car, show that you appreciate their gesture by pitching in on household chores. Show respect-You should treat your parents with the same degree of courtesy as you would anyone else you are living with. That means you should pick up after yourself and turn down the volume on your radio or TV while others are sleeping. If you show your parents respect, they will more than likely treat you like an adult and allow you more privileges. Appreciate your parents’ concerns-When your parents treat you like a child and try to enforce rules upon you, they are doing it for your well-being. They want you to be safe. Even though you may not like the fact that they worry so much about you, try to understand where they are coming from. You would be worried about your parents if they weren’t home by 4:00 in the morning, wouldn’t you? Spend quality time with your parents-When you’re home for the summer, your parents want to spend time with you. Try […]
Reflect on successful school year by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools Rockford Public Schools I want to begin by congratulating all the Rockford Public Schools (RPS) students who earned diplomas this spring, including those from Rockford High School, River Valley Academy, and Rockford Adult Education. I wish you the very best life has to offer. You are fortunate to have earned your diploma from a highly respected educational institution, which has prepared you to continue your lifelong education through technical or trade school, university or community college, military service, or on-the-job training. I encourage you to focus on making a difference with your life and in the lives of others. Go for it! I also want to reflect on a successful 2008-09 school year. Our students excelled in the classroom, in the athletic arena, and on stage. Our greatest source of pride is the achievement of our students-and there were many. Rockford students, from elementary through high school, brought much recognition to their families, their schools, and the Rockford community at large. Thank you! Also, Meadow Ridge Elementary School became our 12th and final school to earn recognition by the Michigan Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon Exemplary School. This outstanding award recognizes Meadow Ridge’s high student-achievement test scores, quality educational opportunities, and strong parent involvement. Congratulations, Meadow Ridge staff, students and families! Like most organizations, businesses and families, RPS is experiencing serious financial challenges. Most of our revenue comes from state income and sales taxes, and those dollars are significantly down because of the state’s unusually high unemployment numbers and the decline in retail activity. RPS is facing these challenges with a resolve to maintain the integrity of our educational opportunities for all students. I believe that it may be several years before Michigan is able to establish a positive cash reserve. During this period, I ask for your patience as we meet these challenges head on. In closing, I hope you and your family have a relaxing and enjoyable summer, and please free to contact me at (616) 863-6557 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or concerns.
A ‘student stimulus plan’ by BLAKE R. BOWMAN Principal, Lakes Elementary School A few weeks ago, Michigan State University’s (MSU) men’s basketball team defeated Louisville to advance to the NCAA Final Four in Detroit. Recognizing that the Spartans’ magical run through the tournament was providing a lot of positive energy for an economically challenged region, MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo said after the game, “Let’s face it, every state’s been hit this year. It’s been a tough time, but ours has been hit maybe as hard as anybody’s. I’m just hoping we’re a silver lining. I’m hoping that we’re the sunshine. I’m hoping we’re something to embrace, to be involved with…” The sun shone brightly on Michigan for the next week. I should know. I went down to Detroit for the Final Four games, and it was a spectacular environment down there. MSU’s athletic director, Mark Hollis, referred to the team’s achievements as the “Spartan stimulus plan.” And, for a week, it worked some awe-inspiring magic. But the Final Four is over now. For all the fun and exhilaration that we had, any true stimulus plan has to be based on something more lasting. The Federal government’s economic stimulus plan is slated to provide some much-needed relief for struggling programs, but even this is a one-time windfall. Where can we turn to find hope and inspiration that will stand up against the tests of time? Take a look at the students of Rockford Public Schools. I’m the biggest MSU fan you’ll ever meet, but I missed the Louisville game because I was at Rockford High School with my two oldest children, watching the incredible musical performance of “Beauty and the Beast.” Sure, that performance is over, but every time you turn around in this town, you’ll find more of our students doing outstanding things. At this year’s Community Expo last March, I was proud to watch many of my students from Lakes sing in front of a gym full of people. It was very exciting to watch them shine publicly! Most of Rockford’s schools were represented at that event. Rockford’s musical departments are executing amazing performances all of the time. North Rockford Middle School (NRMS) offered an Arts Night last month that spotlighted NRMS students […]
by STEVE LEWIS Assistant Principal, Rockford High School As a community, we are aware of the accomplishments of our students in the academic arena with nearly half of our students achieving honor roll status. While many of the students excel in the classroom, they also carry their talents into the sports arena, winning many conference and state championships. Our band and choir also shine in state competitions as well. Last month our theatre students performed “Beauty and the Beast” that was on the level of a Broadway musical. Perhaps the most compelling attribute of our students is what they do beyond the walls of Rockford High School (RHS). Our students’ compassion for others and the student service they do is simply remarkable. The following letter was written to RHS staff from one of their colleagues about student service. Dear Colleagues, I wanted to take a moment to tell you about an incredible demonstration by some of our students last night in Grand Rapids. Fifteen RHS students, some of them Youth Initiative members, some from my AP English classes and some from Mitch Gathercole’s Senior Composition classes, helped my wife Tammi and me make and serve a “Love Feast” in inner-city Grand Rapids last night. The students made spaghetti with meat and marinara sauce, Caesar salad, fruit salad and dessert (12 students made brownies and cakes) and served the meal to unemployed, indigent and homeless people. I can’t tell you how proud I was of our students’ work ethic, creative problem-solving, and servant hearts. We were told to prepare a meal for 75-100 people and 140 showed up to eat and 20 asked for food to go for their friends and family that could not come. The students responded to each challenge with creativity and positive attitudes. Students had to serve each person, but also meet various and sometimes strange requests of some rude, caustic and demanding people. They illustrated agape love in every action whether cooking, serving or cleaning up. During the evening, a few men stumbled into the hall obviously intoxicated, but hungry just the same. They were loud and boisterous, but our students were not intimidated or rude. They met their needs in the same fashion as any of the others. In another […]