Rockford Schools utilize summer with updates, assessments, planning

Rockford Area Schools, District 883, may be closed to students for the summer, but administration, staff and the Board of Education are using these months to evaluate and plan for the 2013-14 school year, and beyond.


At the Rockford Area Board of Education’s July 15 meeting, Maureen Mullen, Director of Buildings and Grounds, presented a maintenance report covering staffing levels and productivity, health and safety, environment, “Green Cleaning” products, HVAC repairs and improvements and site work on playing fields and a middle school rain garden. The report was extensive and well received by the board.

A few highlights include: Work orders completed, maintenance and health and safety preventative maintenance, total 2,914 this year. Mullen reported that the staffing number were low, 49,000 square feet per cleaner, and is adopting a new organizational strategy going forward that she thinks will best utilize existing staff.

An Infection Control Plan has been implemented to address the prospect of a contagious disease situation.

A record low number of violations were noted by OSHA, 18 in total and all minor.

The district received $17,057 from a SCRAP grant from Hennepin County and is expanding its recycling program.

The cleaning crew has made the switch to biodegradable products and is in the process of replacing existing cleaning cloths and mops to micro fiber.

A new high-efficiency back-up boiler was installed in the elementary school.

Major improvements to the softball pinwheel were made and grant dollars stretched due to volunteer hours. Work on high school’s 7-varsity baseball infield is scheduled to begin in July.

A second rain garden was installed at the middle school in conjunction with its STEM environmental focus. Phase three of the high school’s landscape plan in underway.

The work completed, and planned, over the last year is significant, but Mullen’s report ended with a nod to her maintenance staff. She relayed to the board that productivity is high, as is morale and pride. She ended her report with an explanation:

“The single biggest thing that impacted my department this past year is the passing of the Facilities Bond. It has energized me and my staff, and has helped with the creation of a more positive work environment and more positive attitudes district-wide.”


Director of Technology, John Engel, presented the 2012-13 Technology Annual Report.

Reclaiming unused existing storage has expanded district wide server storage, and future expansion will be obtained through Storage Area Network (SAN).

Staff had laptops upgraded through a lease program, which has been successful in its first year. The district went paperless with online report cards in the last trimester of the school year, and this transition has gone smoothly. Staff received timely training, and a .5 tech support position was filled to assist with online testing.

The elementary school had additional ActivBoars installed, wireless internet expanded, received ten new additional iPads for teachers and conformed the media center computer lab with existing and re-purposed eMacs from other areas. The middle school is capable of producing daily web casts and had two informational kiosks with Apple iTv’s and panel televisions,

The high school had 16 to 20 computers installed for Project Lead the Way and has expanded wireless.

Engel’s 2013-14 Technology Plan includes a number of improvements relating to network infrastructure, sound systems, student data mining, continued wireless expansion and Chromebook mobile labs.



Board Chair, Ted Botten, read a statement regarding a recent performance appraisal of Paul Durand, District Superintendent.

The review process included results from a survey completed by board members, administrative members of the district and community members, business leaders, parents, teachers and staff. Goals assessed were highs student achievement, fiscal responsibility and efficient and effective operations. Durand received a numerical ranking of 4.8 out of 5, placing him in the very good to outstanding appraisal category.

Performance compensation of $4,400 was awarded Durand for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Rockford Area Schools Board of Education in Monday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the district boardroom located in the middle school.