Rockford schools report academic successes, plan program improvements

The Rockford Area School Board, at its April 15 meeting, covered a number of items including academic ranking at the high school, special events and accomplishments at the middle school, the introduction of piano lessons at the elementary level and consideration of an enhanced strength and conditioning program.



Rockford High School Principal Ryan Jensen reported to the board second trimester academic results and rankings for students. Over half of RHS students made the honor roll, with the ninth grade class coming in at nearly 60%.

In the senior class, 53% of students obtained honor roll status, 11 of them name Academic All Stars wit Grade Point Averages of 4.0 or higher.

The junior class had 49% of its students on the honor roll and 16 all stars with GPA’s of 4.0 or above. Fifty-four percent of RHS sophomores qualified for the honor roll, 13 of them named all stars with GPA’s of 4.14 or higher.

And, the freshman class had 59% of its class on the honor roll with 14 ass stars with accumulated GPA’ s of 3.9 or higher.

Also reported, the high school speech team finished in third place at sectionals with six students qualifying for the state competition.

And, prom deviates from the “on-site” tradition this year with a dinner and dance at the Mall of America. This annual event will be Saturday May 4, and the community is invited to attend the Grand March. Doors (Rockford Community Center entrance) open to the public at 12:30 p.m.



Amy Denneson, principal of the Rockford Middle School-Center for Environmental Studies, relayed items of interest including team advancement to the state-level of the “National History Day” competition. RMS-CES will also be represented by a five-student team at the Special Olympics competition in Sartell this month.

Other dates to note are the musical performances for the Little Mermaid May 2 and 3, a spring band concert on May 21 and a spring choir concert May 31.

A new event, Career Fair (with over 30 adult participants from various occupational backgrounds) has been rescheduled due to winter storm conditions to Friday, May 17 beginning at noon.

Move-Up Day, a chance for fifth grade students to experience a day at the middle school before the big move in the fall, will be June 4.

The board did take action at this meeting to approve a schedule change at the middle school requiring students to report 5 minutes earlier (from 7:55 to 7:50 a.m.) in the 2013-14 school year. The change was initially considered to keep some of the larger class sizes down but does allow enough flexibility in scheduling to include exploratory STEM units, reading and math boost units. The new configuration will also allow students in band and choir to take Spanish.



And, exciting news for Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School students who will, in the 2013-14 school year, be offered weekly half hours small group piano lessons beginning in third grade, with practice time available during recess. REAMS Principal Brenda Petersmeyer has a musical instruction background and relayed to the board that her experience, along with that of other educational professionals, supports the theory that elements of hands-on musical instruction, primarily piano, can enhance learning in core curricular studies. The board was receptive to the approach, and opportunity, for REAMS students.

Also news, the district has hired an interim athletic director to replace Glen Klaphake, RHS Assistance Principal/Athletic Director, who resigned in March. Gary Palm is a former teacher, long time coach and athletic director who most recently worked for St. Anthony Village.

Another topic discussed by the board, and in regard to the district’s athletic program, was improving strength and conditioning for student athletes. What’s being considered is a collaboration that would include school, after school and summer programs, and a performance team to develop and design training programs that can maximize athletic performance and decrease injuries.

Lastly, for an update on projects related to the Nov. referendum, including construction and planning progress, visit the district’s web site, find the district page and hit the “bond pledge” button on top.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Rockford Area Schools Board of Education is Monday, May 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the district boardroom located in the middle school campus.