School Beat


August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

Bus Safety, How Closing School or Implementing a Two-Hour Delay is Determined by JAMIE HOSFORD Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources Rockford Public Schools I hope you and your family are having a wonderful summer. I had several telephone conversations at the end of the 2011-2012 school year regarding the process followed when the district implements a two-hour delay and/or closes school due to inclement weather. As a result of those conversations (even though you’ll be reading this in the summer!), I would like to explain the process we follow when making a decision to deviate from the normal school hours. Rockford Public Schools 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), Jacquie Fase (Director of Transportation), 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 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 for the drivers […]

RHS September 11 Tribute

August 9, 2012 // 0 Comments

by DAN ZANG Principal, Rockford High School “Our enemies have made the mistake that America’s enemies always make. They saw liberty and thought they saw weakness,” President George W. Bush. Very shortly we will start a new academic year at Rockford High School (RHS). It is very exciting to see not only our students come back to campus but to also welcome countless parents, guests and visitors. We are very proud of our longstanding tradition of excellence at Rockford Public Schools and our facility here at RHS. All who visit will soon see a patriotic display in remembrance of the September 11 attack on the United States. We were looking to redesign our front main office foyer at the high school and wanted it to be a theme that symbolized the spirit and resolve of our great country. As building principal at RHS, I have been involved and played witness to great events here at our school. Our staff and students are involved in many great causes here in Rockford, Kent County, and beyond. One such project our students were involved in last year was the West Michigan Healing Fields located at Cannonsburg Ski Area. Our students assisted in carrying and setting some of the 3,200 flags representing the lives lost on that somber day. Although many of our students were too young to recall exact memories of the attack, they were certainly aware of the impact on our country. All of our students were proud to have served in the Healing Fields project. Many flags from the Healing Fields project will be proudly displayed at RHS. Four flags will be incorporated into our design in the front foyer. These flags were ceremonially folded by members of the U.S. Marine Corps and placed in flag displays. The flags are in loving memory of four New York residents whose lives were lost on Sept. 11, 2001: Jason DeFazio, 29, Ivan Perez, 37, Michael Weinberg, 34, and William Wik, 44. Other facts and points of pride regarding our display include: •            RHS Art students, under the direction of RHS Art Instructor Barb Kent, created the vision and shared in the design of the project. •            Hands spell out COURAGE in American Sign Language to represent how our […]


August 2, 2012 // 0 Comments

Improving Safety and Security in Our Schools by PETER YOUNG Director of Technology Rockford Public Schools Implementing security cameras in school systems these days is a pretty common approach to improving safety and security for both staff and students. This summer, Rockford Public Schools will be in the process of implementing new security cameras throughout the district. The project will be funded from our 2008 bond issue, not general operating funds. We will be deploying over 80 new digital cameras from our elementary to our secondary buildings, as well as our administrative facilities. These new cameras will replace existing analog cameras and now will be connected and managed through the district’s network. In fact, we will be able to monitor these cameras from any location with a device connected to the Internet. A limited number of users will be granted access to monitor these cameras. The security system upgrades will increase the number of cameras from 20 to over 80 in order to monitor general public areas, both inside and outside the buildings. These devices will predominately focus on main entrances, building corridors and the perimeters of the buildings. The new cameras will all be high resolution with multiple viewing degrees and equipped with the ability to incorporate microphones to pick up audio as well. Rockford Public Schools will be improving our student and school community security by implementing new digital cameras while expanding the area of visibility at each district facility. Our improved security initiative will provide a safe and secure environment through the placement of surveillance devices, and still allow for future expandability.


July 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

SCHOOL BEAT RPS offers variety of preschool, child care options by JANE DOWNS Rockford Preschool and Child Care Director Area families finding themselves in need of preschool or child care for the fall, your search is over! Our preschool and child care programs are state licensed and help prepare preschoolers for school success. Community Education, Hola Amigos, Montessori and our Child Development Lab all provide daily experiences in literacy, math, music, art, gross and fine motor development. Children also have opportunities to become independent, make decisions, develop creativity and practice school readiness social skills such as taking turns, sharing, and learning to be a group member. Our teachers make it a priority to make learning fun while providing plenty of individual attention and encouragement. The programs vary in price, session length and days per week. For more information and assistance finding a program that is right for you and your child, please visit the Rockford Public Schools (RPS) website at or call the Child Care Services office at (616) 863-6560. For working parents of preschoolers looking for a quality program with wrap-around child care, we offer that as well. Our preschool with wrap-around child care has earned the distinction of national accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Our Preschool Enrichment Child Care exposes children to a wide variety of learning experiences, including a planned preschool program, meals, and outdoor play. It is open year ‘round from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Wrap-around child care can also be used with any of our preschool programs (Community Education, Hola Amigos, Montessori or Child Development Lab). If you are looking for an alternative to having your school-age child home alone before or after school, our Before and After School Care (BAC) programs in each of the elementary buildings may be just what you need! Parents can be assured that their children are in a safe, fun and nurturing environment including planned table games, crafts, gym time, outdoor play and homework time. BAC is open from 7:00 a.m. until the start of school and after school until 6:00 p.m. It is offered every day that school is in session, as well as on teacher in-service, conference, and many school vacation days. Information […]


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 […]

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