Mustaches for Mitchell? by MIKE WESTGATE Assistant Principal Rockford Freshman Center Yes, Mustaches for Mitchell. This year in Rockford Public Schools (RPS), a yet-to-be-determined number of brave souls will sacrifice their faces and dignities as “growers” for Mustaches for Mitchell. Our goal is to use our “push brooms” to raise as much money as possible in our first year for Mitchell’s Run and Parent Project MD. Mitchell Peterson is currently a student at the Rockford Freshman Center and was diagnosed in March 1999 with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Mitchell’s Run Thru Rockford and Volley for Mitchell have become mainstays in our community and raise funds to fight this disease. Mustaches for Mitchell is the brainchild of Al Reickard, Mitchell’s social studies teacher at the Freshman Center. As the organizer of this event, Reickard wanted to contribute to Mitchell’s campaign and fundraising efforts in a new and fun way for the staff and students of Rockford. Conceptually, Mustaches for Mitchell works like the read-a-thons held in grade school, except there’s no reading requirement, and you’re growing a mustache. (OK—not exactly the same, but you get the idea). Each “grower” collects pledges from friends, coworkers, distant relatives, acquaintances, local merchants and bus drivers to sponsor their ’stache. Each ’stache is limited to the Magnum P.I. corner-to-corner style—no goatees, stingers, or other redeeming facial hair is allowed. The parent organization, Mustaches for Kids, is a volunteer-run organization started in Los Angeles in 1999 to do good and have fun by growing mustaches for children’s charities. Since its humble beginnings, Mustaches for Kids satellite chapters have spread across the continent, a steady expansion that is not unlike the measured, deliberate growth of a mustache. The growing season begins for participating RPS staff members at the Clean Shaven Day Kickoff on Monday, November 15, and for five glorious weeks thereafter sweet, sweet ’staches are cultivated. During the growing season, growers and sponsors will have the opportunity to meet up at “weigh-ins” to give each other moral support, and compare their facial follicle follies. At the end of five weeks, a finale will be held to determine whose ‘stache is sweetest, with much fame and hardware to go around. All proceeds will benefit Mitchell’s Run and Parent Project MD.
At 10 a.m., Wednesday November 25, American Legion Post 102 of Rockford, in cooperation with St. Stephens Evangelical Lutheran Church, hosted their first Mobile Food Pantry from the Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank. Over 40 Legion members were assisted by 30 Boy Scouts from Troops 264, 282 and 228. In a brief ceremony prior to distributing the food, Post Commander Tom Plaska presented a check in the amount of $1,300 to Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank. Dena Rogers who was on hand to represent the food bank, accepted the check. The $1,300 check was given as a token of the Post’s commitment, to assisting community members in need, though the Mobile Pantry Program. In all, the Post divided and distributed 5,133 pounds of food to 108 families, consisting of over 354 family members. Post Commander Tom Plaska applauded the volunteers and reminded them that the American Legion’s success depends entirely upon active membership, participation and volunteerism. And that the organization belongs to the people it serves and the communities in which it thrives. The Post has scheduled their second Mobile Pantry for December 22 at 10:00 AM. A third is also scheduled for January 25. Those families residing in the North Kent Area who require food assistance are invited to attend. The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. Focusing on service to veterans, service members and communities, the Legion currently has about 2.6 million members in 14,000 posts worldwide. It is only through the efforts of the community that projects such as the mobile food pantry can be successful. A number of businesses, when asked, have stepped forward with needed resources. The Legion is very grateful for the assistance of Red’s on the River, D&W Food Market, Meijer, DVS Trucking and Alloy Exchange, who all contributed in some manner to the success of this project. The support of the membership of St. Stephens Lutheran Church has been invaluable, assisting the Legion members with everything from resources to coaching. They have truly been a big part of the pantry’s success.
A host family in the Rockford High School area is being sought for 16 year old female exchange student from France due to arrive in late August for the upcoming academic year. She enjoys family activities, acting, shopping, likes children, and is ready to become a participating member of her American host family pitching in on everything from household chores to family discussions. Imagine Homecoming, holidays or even that first school bus ride, as seen through the eyes of a foreign exchange student. It is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for an exchange teen and the family that hosts her. Hosts provide room, board and guidance for the student during their exchange experience. Families with small or grown children are eligible to host. The sponsoring program, CASE, is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to providing youth from around the world the opportunity to exchange a cross-cultural experience. Each year CASE sponsors approximately 200 such exchanges between the United States and 28 foreign countries. CASE believes that the seeds to promote peace and harmony are planted in these young internationals who come to America to learn about our culture and people, and establish lasting friendships with their host families and new American communities. For more information on hosting this young lady or an exchange student from another country, contact CASE toll free 1 (877) 417-9675. www.exchangestudents.org
by JULIE DEVEREAUX, Principal Meadow Ridge Elementary The North Central Association (NCA) is the largest accrediting association that monitors schools in the United States. It is a non-governmental voluntary membership association of schools. To sustain membership in NCA, schools must meet both membership and improvement criteria annually and engage in continuous school improvement that focuses on improving student performance. Prior to 1990, only the Rockford High School was a member of NCA. In the fall of 1990, a decision was made by the Rockford Public Schools Board of Education to begin the process to accredit all schools in the Rockford district. Since that time, every building has achieved membership and accreditation. The NCA process to school improvement is systematic, data driven, and results in significant improvement over time. The school improvement that has been documented by individual Rockford schools during the last 18 years, is very impressive. In the fall of 2006, the NCA, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and National Study of School Evaluation (NSSE) came together to form one strong and unified organization called AdvancED. In November 2007, an agreement between the Michigan Department of Education and AdvancED was reached to satisfy the state’s requirements while also meeting the school’s AdvancEd accreditation. AdvancEd is the world’s largest education community, representing over 23,000 public and private schools and districts in 30 states and 65 countries, serving over 15 million students. Through AdvancED, NCA has defined shared, research-based accreditation standards that cross state, regional and national boundaries. Accompanying these, standards and accreditation process are intended to enhance quality, reduce duplication of effort with state processes, and simplify procedures. Rockford Public Schools’ next step is to begin a district accreditation process through AdvancED. That process has begun with a Readiness Visit scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 20. To earn AdvancED district accreditation, Rockford will have to: meet the AdvancED accreditation standards; implement a continuous process of improvement; and host an external review team once every five years. This process is rigorous and demonstrates that the Rockford district is focused on raising student achievement, providing safe and enriching learning environments, and maintaining efficient and effective operations staffed by highly qualified educators. This accreditation commission will provide a nationally recognized mark of quality for our district and […]