Rockford School Board appoints new board member

The Rockford Area School Board, District 883, discussed a number of items at its June meeting, including a new board appointment, a new music instructor, construction and the teaching evaluation process.


Due to a recent vacancy on the School Board in the wake of member Peter Grimm’s resignation, the board advertised for interested parties willing fill out the remainder of the term, which runs thought the rest of the year.

Area resident Lea Hall met with Board Members Ted Botten and Chuck Tryon and expressed a desire to take the absent seat for the remainder of  the term. Tryon told the board that Hall has prior board experience and a willingness to serve and that he found her to be a good candidate for the appointment.

The remaining five board members voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Hall to fill out the vacated term.

Voting is open for three board seats at the general election in November. Each seat represents a four-year term. Filing for these seats is open from July 29 to Aug. 12 at the district office.


Due to a significant jump in band enrollment, Rockford Middle School – Center for Environmental Studies Principal Amy Denneson asked for board approval for an additional halftime music instruction staffing position.

Some of the increase in interest is attributed to the free piano lessons offered at the Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School, providing elementary students an early chance to learn how to play, and appreciate, music. The quality of the Rockford High School music program is considered high, with several all state nominations and seatings for band, orchestra and choir.

The number of Rockford High School band participants in the last school year was 107, while projections for the 2014-15 school year are at 125. RMS estimates, however, are even higher with a jump from 179 in 2013-14 to 347 for 2014-15.

The board approved the request for additional staffing for music.


Construction, which has been underway in phases for months, goes into full swing over the summer months, tackling indoor and outdoor improvements at all campuses. The principals at the various schools recognized their teaching staff, as well as maintenance staff, for assistance in readying the site for construction.

At the high school, demolition has begun in the commons area as well as the roof, and the existing kitchen equipment has been removed.

Roof replacement is in progress at the middle school and demolition related to classroom remodeling has begun there as well.

The remainder of board meetings this summer will be conducted in the Rockford Community Center.

For more information on the progress of construction, or to see what’s next, visit


Lorene Force presented the board with copies of an extensive Teacher Development and Evaluation Process that was compiled in accordance with state statutes. The plan relies heavily on classroom visits and monitoring with assessments in planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction an professionalism.

The purpose of the evaluation, as is stated at the beginning of the guide, is to support continuous growth in all educators, enforce effective teaching practices to improve learning and student success, help and encourage teachers to set goals and achieve them to improve their instructional skills and develop a collaborative evaluation plan with the teacher association reaffirming a respectful working relationship.

Force was brought on as a transition coordinator in February.

In other news, the board entertained a conversation in regard to changing the traditional Thursday evening graduation date due to concerns including out-of-town student athletic scheduling and the inability of family members to attend during the week. No decision was made, and this item will be revisited after further investigation and discussion.

The next regular meeting of the Rockford Area Schools Board of Education is 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 21 in the Rockford Community Center.