How 27 adds up to a big win for local students

A Rockford Public Schools student who takes three Advanced Placement classes during his or her high school career scores an average of 27 on the ACT. Did you know that?

I was reminded of this success story two times today. It was mentioned by Deputy Superintendent Matt Vosberg at the school year kickoff for elementary teachers at

RPS205 Deputy Superintendent Matt Vosberg addresses elementary teachers at Heartland Community Church for the district's kickoff event for the new school year.

RPS205 Deputy Superintendent Matt Vosberg addresses elementary teachers at Heartland Community Church for the district’s kickoff event for the new school year.

Heartland Community Church. Later, Vosberg mentioned it to reporters and editors at a media roundtable, hosted by our RPS205 Communications Department at the administration building.

Like a lot of people, I need to hear things several times before they stick. But the 27 ACT figure got my attention. As the mother of two kids who have gone to college, I know that a 27 on the ACT is enough to get in most colleges and universities these days.

Sure, Harvard and Yale might pass those kids over, but join the crowd.

In addition to connecting AP enrollment and ACT scores, one of the great things we are doing at the district is establishing benchmarks for student success at critical points:  prekindergarten, third grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, eighth grade, ninth grade and graduation.

If we can help students from falling between the cracks at these key transition points, research tells us we can fill more seats at graduation. We can make sure more students leave us with the literacy, numeracy and non-academic skills needed after they graduate.

Vosberg talked to the elementary teachers this morning about the importance of college and career readiness even at the earliest ages. Educational attainment correlates strongly with economic health.

In Rockford, almost a quarter of our local jobs require a bachelor’s degree, yet only 19.8 percent of residents have one. We simply have to catch up. Studies show that more than half of people pick a desirable place to live first before they find a job.

It’s a simple calculus: More educated people add up to a healthier community.

RPS205 knows the challenges are tough but, given the teaching talent we have in the district, ultimately surmountable. “The time to be here has never been better,” Vosberg told the teachers. Sharpen your pencils for the school year!

Mary Kaull is communications coordinator for the Rockford Public Schools.




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