The Rockford Area School Board discussed a number of items at its March 18 meeting including a proposed schedule change at the middle school to par down larger classes, and was treated to the unveiling of the high school’s new band uniforms.
Rockford Middle School – Center for Environmental Studies (RMS-CES) may have a slightly earlier start time in 2014.
With a high number of students moving into sixth grade in the 2013-14 school year, Principal Amy Denneson presented some schedule changes that could keep class sizes down. The changes include a five-minute earlier start time (from 7:55 to 7:50 a.m.), the addition of exploratory, reading and math boost units and re-configuring lunch schedules by class. The change would allow students in band and choir to take Spanish. A new schedule will come back to the board for approval.
Also mentioned in Denneson’s report, eighth grade students, eighth grade students (selected through EXPLORE test results) will participate in a BestPrep e-Mentor program that pairs them with a Medtronic employee they communicate with through email, giving them insights on the path to a sciences career.
RMS-CES will also host a career fair on April 11.
Jamie Madsen, RMS-CES integration Specialist, presented the board with plans for an extension of the school’s rain garden at its entrance. The garden is expected to be in place by the first week of June, with 75% of the funding of the excavation, construction and installation funded by the Wright County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Crow River Organization of water.
At the high school, RHS Principal Ryan Jensen reported most student course requests have come in for the 2013-14 school year. One the number of sections is determined; staff will begin preparing the master schedule. Second Trimester Report Cards are being sent out, and Parent –Teacher Conferences will be April 25.
Exciting news from the highs school band, Director Jerald Ferdig reported the highlights of a recent solo/ensemble completion event in Watertown last month. Ferdig noted that Rockford had, by far, the largest number of musicians participating and received 15 “Superior” and 8 “Excellent rankings, with the Jazz Band receiving “Superior.”
Of the six sites where performances were held, Rockford students were rated “best in site” at four. Those students are: Carissa Aarsvold, Best in Site, Marimba Solo; Cally Nielsen, Best in Site, Flute Solo; Rachel Smith, Best it Site, French Horn Solo and Emilie Villaume, Best in Site, Flute Solo.
These gifted musicians will soon be performing in new uniforms. The uniforms will replace the existing ones, which are showing sings of use and are not exactly “uniform” in color.
The uniforms were displayed by staff, and met with approval by the board. They will be rolled out to the public at the RHS Spring Band Concert, May 7 and at the Rockford Memorial Day Parade.
Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School (REAMS) Principal Brenda Petersmeyer relayed to the board in her a report a number of successful events students and families have participated in as well as some upcoming.
The Parents in Education (PIE) Carnival, an annual fund-raiser that helps put supplies, equipment, books and other resources in classrooms for students in grades k through 8 not covered by district funding. It’s a parent run organization and received, according to Petersmeyer, a wonderful staff volunteer turnout this year. Family Fun Night, First Grade Spotlight on the Arts, and Family Engineering Night were all well attended and memorable.
Looking forward, REAMS will participate in the Celebration of Young Musicians Festival at the high school and host a student forum with Superintendent Paul Durand April 12, a Second Grade Spotlight on the Arts April 16, Math and Reading Night April 18, and Kindergarten Roundup April 21.
Lani Brown-Worley, Q-Comp Program advisor, reported that the district’s annual review had been completed. Brown-Worley noted that the Rockford teaching staff and embraced and made strides in their program that were “like no other district I have observed”.
Teachers are eligible for additional compensation through performance pay awards that are predetermined and measured in testing. The district goal this year is to improve reading results by 2% in all buildings, something Brown-Worley said she would not be surprised to see surpassed when the results are released early this summer.
Also, the district’s annual Report to the Community is available at the district office and area businesses. It covers information on each of the schools, the board, activities, financials and more.
The next regular meeting of the board will be Monday, April 15, at 6:30 p.m. at the district boardroom located in the lower level of the middle school.