Message to the Class of 2012 by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools Rockford Public Schools On behalf of the Rockford Public Schools Board of Education, employees, and Rockford area community, congratulations to our graduating seniors from Rockford High School, River Valley Academy, and Adult Education. You have reached a very important milestone in your lives, and we are proud of your accomplishments. While there is much to celebrate this time of year, let us take time to remember the staff and students we have lost over the years. May you carry precious memories as you embark on a new chapter in your life. I encourage you to use your Rockford High School diploma as a springboard to further educational opportunities that will prepare you for a quality life tomorrow and in the future. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that learning begins at birth and should not end until death. How true that is! Especially when today’s good jobs require more specialized training and education. Combine that fact with the potential of fewer jobs, and the competition has become intense. You have a great foundation from which to build, and I encourage you to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Those who choose to “tread water” will eventually lose the energy to move forward or, worse, drown. I encourage you to keep moving forward and improving yourself and the people who are a part of your living and working environment. Each one of you is very special. You possess unique abilities and skills that no one else has. The key to your success will be your willingness to expend the energy and effort required to reach your goals through small, deliberate steps and persevering when things become tough. I wish each and every one of our graduates the best that life has to offer. As always, I encourage you to contact me with any questions or concerns, and I wish you and your family a relaxing and safe summer!
Superintendent of Schools
The Good, the bad, the ugly by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools The Good—This fall, Rockford’s marching band took third place in the state in Division I competition. This is the strongest rating our marching band has ever earned in recent history. Congratulations! Several of our athletic teams won district and regional championships. Congratulations to Rockford’s boys water polo team, who won their seventh state title over the past 10 years. Their achievement was especially gratifying because the team was not considered a threat during tournament play. New classroom expansions, paid through the 2008 bond issue, at Cannonsburg, Lakes, Roguewood, and Valley View elementary schools are now ready for students. Planning continues for classroom additions to Belmont and Crestwood elementary schools. District-wide technology upgrades along with recreation and athletic field additions continue toward completion and within budget. Rockford’s academic and fine arts programs continue to exceed the high expectations established by staff, students and community. The successes our students experience in the classroom continue to validate Rockford’s outstanding academic programs. The Bad—Since the early 2000s, bi-partisan organizations such as the Citizens Research Council and University of Michigan economists, have been predicting that the current system to fund public education would soon be broken. Well, it’s almost 2010, and the system is on life support with barely a pulse. With the 1994 implementation of Proposal A, school districts currently receive two-thirds of their revenue through state sales and income taxes and one-third from property taxes. With Michigan’s high unemployment rate and significant downsizing of manufacturing, revenues from state sales and income taxes are below expectations, and revenue from property taxes are barely neutral, creating what is called a “structural deficit.” A structural deficit exists when revenues to fund essential services, such as police, fire and education, are less than required to maintain existing programs. Most experts will tell you that state government cannot “cut their way” out of a structural deficit and that new or expanded revenue resources must be created. Even in a severely stressed economy, Michigan lawmakers have the means to restructure the funding system for essential services. But the question still remains: “Does the will exist?” If Michigan’s current system to fund public education is broken because of the structural deficit, […]
Football should be played on grass, believes Dr. Michael Shibler, Rockford Public School Superintendent. He also stated that Head Football Coach Ralph Munger believes football should be played on grass. Nonetheless, as the new Mondo artificial turf multi-use (formerly football) field opens this Thursday, September 3, Shibler is thrilled with the new field. With state-of-the-art technology that allows the artificial turf to one day be recycled, stay cooler during hot game or practice days, and allow extended use of the field, the new field is a wonderful addition and made possible by last May’s successful millage. “I believe in doing it right the first time, especially when spending taxpayer dollars,” said Shibler. He was one of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce guest speakers at the every-other-month luncheon series. The field will be “unveiled” during a rededication ceremony of the Ted Carlson stadium at 7 p.m. (see story on page 1). It was one of many topics Shibler discussed during the business luncheon held at Bostwick Lake Inn. Improvements to the district are possible through the community’s support of its school through millage approvals as well as the strong base of volunteers Rockford enjoys. Shibler took the time to educate those in the audience on all the district has accomplished through support from the residents, parents and staff. Shibler stated that the district has changed in many ways since he began as superintendent. He praised the great working relationship between the school and the business community, and said one of the first things he emphasized 23 years ago was that the school be an active partner with businesses, the City and our townships. “This is my 42nd year as a Michigan educator and I can’t think of a better place to be,” Shibler said. He said when he started the district had 4,100 students and now there are 8,100 in grades kindergarten through 12. In 1989 the district began planning its RAMS program (Rockford Action Model for Success). Each RAMS is a three-year plan of improvement now in its seventh version. The district has 1,000 employees and a $74 million annual budget, but receives the lowest funding per student in Kent County. Ending or lessening the difference in per-student funding—comparable schools receive as much as ten […]
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 www.rockfordschools.org for ongoing progress reports. Financial Challenges […]