RPS 205 assistant principal heads to Harvard

Sometimes leadership is putting people in a position to do their jobs well. That’s especially true when it comes to leading complex organizations like schools. Renee Schott, an assistant principal at Jefferson High School, is heading to a program at Harvard to learn more about leading in her many diverse roles at Jefferson: She’s the Assistant Principal of Curriculum, the principal of the school’s Human & Public Services Academy and the master scheduler. The Golden Apple Foundation of Rockford selected Schott last February as the 2016...

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Academy Expo volunteers shine at selling careers to RPS 205 students

Richard Backeberg wasn’t taking any chances. His company, Cintas, had a delivery truck parked in the BMO Harris Bank Center for the Academy Expo. By hook or by hanger, he wanted Rockford Public Schools students to see what a career at the uniform rental company looks like. So he had a few questions to ask the students: Would you like a four-day workweek? No weekends? No nights? No holidays? Then Backeberg, a production supervisor at Cintas, took the wheels off.  He conscripted two students to do a relay that required them to jump in the...

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It takes an RPS 205 academy to solve a crime

Only two people at Guilford High School know who killed Lisa Durn.  And they aren’t talking. Students in the Human and Public Services Academy at Guilford are doing an interdisciplinary project in crime scene investigation. They are solving the fictional murder of Durn, a newspaper editor in Mississippi. A crime scene has been staged near the old gymnasium. Alignment Rockford has helped recruit detectives and other professionals from the community to visit and talk about their work. Some of the lessons were not for the squeamish, said Clark...

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The real power behind high school academies

There was a bigger plot line in the story of the “Big Town, Little City That Could” (win a top prize from Ford Motor Company). But you had to listen carefully to hear it. Rockford this week was named the nation’s third Ford Next Generation Learning Model Community for developing and implementing high school career academies. The honor came only two years after all high school students in the Rockford Public Schools were in academies, and only a year after Ford honored Rockford with the lesser title of Learning Community. The contributions of...

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The lesson of the armadillo and the Expo

Mykal Brown, a freshman at Auburn High School, was at the annual Academy Expo to learn about careers. Who knew he’d end up teaching his fellow students? As it turned out, Mykal was a natural. When Kim Nelson, Rockford Public Schools Executive Director of Early Childhood, asked for volunteers in the expo booth to teach a lesson about physics, Mykal volunteered. Nelson explained that the lesson had to be tailored to 3- and 4-year-olds. “Ok, I got this,” he told her. As he surveyed the experiment — an adjustable wooden slant board and a...

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