RHS plans on raising achievement, closing the gap

Rockford High School Principal Ryan Jensen presented, at the Rockford School Board meeting of June 17, a report outlining a plan to improve academic performance. 

The plan, Rockford High School Curriculum Visioning Process, was designed by Jensen and the RHS Faculty Senate. It details measures to implement going forward to increase performance in four areas identified in the 2013 report card issued by Minncan.org: Proficiency on the Minnesota Comprehensive Achievement testing for reading and math-all students, subgroup (low income, minority students) proficiency, the gap between the proficiency of non-low income white and low income minority students, and the four year graduation rate.

Minncan.org promotes increased learning to advance all students, factoring in subgroups, to measure achievement and educational gaps. Results from Minnesota Comprehensive Achievement testing using these criteria resulted in a C- for Rockford High School.

Jensen explained that the visioning process he was proposing was based on the work of a Robert Marzano, and is devised of three main levels: school, teacher and student.

The school-level will begin with a curriculum audit. Departments will examine the standards to determine how much time is needed to teach essential content and how to most efficiently, and effectively, deliver it. Feedback to students will be timelier and communication with parents optimized with the potential of soliciting more involvement for mentoring or apprenticeship programs in business and technology.

At the teacher level, a framework for research-based instructional strategies will be developed, requiring ongoing professional development.

Students, the third level, will receive motivational support, including instruction to understand and utilize this as vehicle to gain accomplishment and success. Recognition for students demonstrating performance improvement will be introduced.

Jensen emphasized that his would be a systematic approach that would have a great impact on the high school. “This,” he said recognizing the need for improvement, “is not beyond our control.”



Dist. 883 Business Manager, Sandy Strozyk, delivered a brief, but enthusiastic, rundown of some of the major educational finance updates from the 2013 legislative session.

Simplified pupil unit rates, formula allowance increases in 2014 and 15, general education revenue increases, changes in operating referendum revenue, location equity revenue (for districts in the seven-county metro area) and Early Learning Scholarships were highlighted in her report. “In all my years of doing this job, here and in other districts, this is the best I’ve seen,” she said of the updates.

Strozyk, on the topic of enrollment, told the board that an increase of 73 students district-wide for the 2013-14 school year is currently be projected. Superintendent Paul Durand added that over the last few years, the district has consistently hit its enrollment target.

The next meeting of the Rockford Area Schools Board of Education is Monday, July 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the district boardroom located in the lower level of the Rockford Middle School (6051 Ash St.).