Rockford preschool program to increase opportunities, incentives

The Rockford Area School Board received reports from the district’s principals as well as a presentation and recommendation by Tiffany Reinhard, Early Childhood Programs Coordinator.

Reinhard, in her review, reiterated a recent legislative change that will fund all-day kindergarten for all districts.

Those districts, like Rockford, that already have the all-day option in place and have been subsidizing it, may use some of the new kindergarten funding to support and improve preschool options.

The Launching Pad Preschool program has been named a 4-Star Parent Aware Rated Program with easy, on-site options for childcare. It is located in the Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School (REAMS). Program improvements proposed include transportation for students and increased scholarships as needed. English Language Learner (ELL) support will also be implemented, and the mixed-age model used move to a more age specific one for the 2015-16 school year. Reinhard’s recommendation was for the board to approve up to $50,000 for the program to accommodate the proposed changes to the program. After some discussion, the board voted to approve the additional preschool funding.

ACTIVITIES

According to Dan Pratt, Rockford High School (RHS) Activities Director, students are participating in good numbers across the board with some new activities and events getting good attendance and feedback. Pratt reported that the district hosted its first outdoor track meet in several years, a trap team has been formed and prepared for competition and the Rockford band director, Jerald Ferdig, and Voice/Music instructor, Brandy Gullickson, joined forces in a combined concert that showcased half the RHS student body.

He also reported that a band competition with ten other schools last month in Annandale netted three of six possible “Best in Site” awards. The 24 RHS competitors all received superior and excellent ratings or perfect scores.

And, Rockford Speech team members, Josh Shaikoski and Jordan Bongaarts, made it to the state competition in April.

RMS-CES

Rockford Middle School- Center for Environmental Studies (RMS-CES) is implementing the student driven program “Where Everyone Belongs” (WEB).

Web is a middle school orientation and transition program built on the belief that students can help students succeed. WEB Leaders are mentors and student leaders who guide younger students to discover what it takes for a successful transition and middle school career.

A “Transition Oversight Committee” with staff, administration and community members continues to meet regarding the change in classes attending the elementary and middle schools beginning in the fall of 2014.  “Move up” days to acquaint students entering sixth grade, and middle school, have been conducted in recent years. This year, those entering fifth grade in the fall will take part in a “move up” day of their own as they will be relocated to the middle school campus in the fall. The change is the result of a major remodeling project district-wide and considered to be the best use of existing space.

REAMS

The Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School will host an “Arts and Academic” showcase Tuesday, May 13, form 4 to 6 p.m. Highlights from April include a student forum with Rockford Schools Superintendent Paul Durand, Artist in Residency with a Native American storytelling focus, a math and reading night and an Arbor Day tree planting activity.

RHS

At the high school, Principal Ryan Jensen reported that and a counselor met with freshman, sophomore and junior classes to discuss course offerings and requests for the upcoming school year. Students were able to access a computer portal to make requests after school hours and the master schedule is being prepared.

Finance and Preliminary Budget

The preliminary budget for 2014-15 was approved unanimously. Subject to change, the 2014-15 general budget revenue is projected at $15,583,070, with expenditures of $15,551,459.

The board also approved a revised 2013-14 general budget of $14,507,096 in revenue and $15,303,172 in expenditures. This is also subject to change.

District Business Manager, Sandy Strozyk reported that the district was awarded the Minnesota Department of Education Finance Award. This award recognizes schools for meeting statutory deadlines for submission of audited fiscal financial data and reporting criteria.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Rockford Area School Board is Monday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the district boardroom located in the lower level of the middle school.

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