Rockford Area Schools, District 883, held its first regularly scheduled meeting of the 2013-14 school year on Sept. 16. It included principal reports and an annual curriculum report.
Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School Principal Brenda Petersmeyer, reported to the board that her campus, staff and students were off to an excellent start with 813 families participating in the school’s recent open house event.
The piano lessons the school instituted this fall are, Petersmeyer said, very exciting for students and have been met with a lot of enthusiasm. Students are learning new skills in a recently designed piano lab with keyboards accessible for each student in class. They also have access to practice opportunities throughout the day in classrooms, during recess and before and after school. Arts integration in core curriculum is included at REAMS in all areas from movement to more fundamental forms of self-expression and hands-on discovery. Piano instructor Kirsten Coder will lead the charge on this new offering.
There will be a Kindness Retreat for grade four, Petersmeyer added, with Youth Frontiers and the first Parent-Teacher conferences will be Oct. 15 and 16.
Amy Denneson, Rockford Middle School-Center of Environmental Studies principal, thanked the board for approving a starting time change for the middle school that has accommodated a block for Boost and Exploratory opportunities for students as well as resulting in smaller groups in lunch and recess. The students recently participated in a grape harvest on site and are taking advantage of a variety of field experiences that utilize the environmental aspect of their science, technology, engineering, math, or STEM, curriculum.
There will be a STEM Showcase at RMS-CES on Thursday, Oct. 4.
Ryan Jensen, Rockford High School principal, relayed to the board that RHS recently hosted a lunch for students new to the school. There are 26 new students in the district attending RHS, 10 of them foreign exchange students.
He also reported that the Sept. 6 grand opening of the improved Stadium Field was a huge success.
Also, Jenson said, the school was bringing back its “Student of the Month” program that recognizes students nominated for their contributions each month by individual teachers with an honorary breakfast, certificate and prizes donated by local businesses and organizations.
Denneson, who holds the position of director of Teaching and Learning for District 883, presented the Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Achievement to the board for approval.
The report, which will be posted at www.Rockford.k12.mn.us, includes achievement goals for state standards, assessment data, improvement plan and staff development, progress regarding previous plans and advisory committee information
The 2013 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments average scores for all schools resulted in the District 883 scoring higher than the state average in reading and science and slightly lower in math. A board discussion ensued, and recent changes in testing strategies was identified as something that likely contributed to lower scores as well as something that needed to be further researched and addressed.
Additional information regarding like-sized schools in the state and their scores was presented to board as a point of reference.
The annual report was accepted by the board.
Construction projects being completed, or in progress, include track and stadium improvements, auditorium improvements, parking lot reconstruction and the layout of the gymnastics gymnasium. For a list off projects, plans and phases, visit the “Bond Pledge” page at the district’s website.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Rockford School Board is at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, in the district boardroom located at the middle school.