RPS 205 teachers’ gift: transforming lives

Jasmine Chavez credits her RPS 205 teachers with helping her discover her own potential as a teacher.

Jasmine Chavez credits RPS 205 teachers with helping discover her own potential as a teacher.

Many Rockford Public Schools teachers will begin 2018 with new candles, holiday ornaments and “Best Teacher” coffee mugs. These gifts are appreciated. But most teachers will tell you the best rewards are intangible: knowing you could change a child’s life.

Here’s a look back at a few of those transformative moments in 2017:

–Jasmine Chavez-Espinoza was among 11 students who received an Education Pathway scholarship in RPS 205. A first-generation college student and aspiring art teacher, she is studying at Rockford University this year. She credits Jefferson High School teachers including Lynn Stockton and Douglas McArthur for helping her discover her potential. “Everyone would complain about (McArthur’s) class. He loved to challenge us. He would say, ‘One day you guys are going to thank me.’ I didn’t see it while I was in the class. But close to graduation, I was like, ’Oh my gosh. He was doing something for us,” Chavez said. Now Chavez has found her path to pay back.

–Carolina Rodriguez is a powerful influence in young lives, long before they enter a school building. She makes home visits as part of the Prevention Initiative program of RPS 205. Last year, the program tallied more than 2,500 home visits, prenatal to age 3.  Rodriguez remembered one mother in particular who needed help showing her older child how to use a soft touch with the family’s newborn. Rodriguez demonstrated how the mother could teach the older child using cotton balls and a Q-tip. “She’s a good mom,” Rodriguez said. “She’s bought into the program.”

–Teachers use a growth mindset in the district, thanks to tools like the Measures of Academic Progress or MAP. These assessments are given three times a year; they show students where they need to grow. The students, in turn, feel more control over their learning and can set their own targets. Teacher Aaron Park’s fifth grade class at Spring Creek Elementary School celebrated having top growth scores in the district for math during the 2016-17 school year. Aron Reveles, a student in the class, said the growth targets “showed me I was getting smarter. A lot smarter. That gave me proof I was actually learning.”

These stories are just a sample of the progress made under the RPS 205 Strategic Plan. We’re looking forward to even more transformation in 2018!

Mary Kaull is strategic communications coordinator for the Rockford Public Schools. Click here to subscribe to this blog. Also, please like RPS 205 on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.



  1. Colleen Holmbeck


  2. Colleen Holmbeck

    Bless those great teachers!

Leave a Reply