Rockford parents choosing private school for full-time in-person learning

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford’s private school administrators say many of the families who are enrolling for the first time this year are looking forward to full-time in-person instruction. 

Don Gillingham, Executive Director, Rockford Lutheran, said, “Parents always have their own reasons, but this year one of the main reasons is they know we’re going to be five days a week. Because of the size of our enrollment and the size of our building, we’re going to be able to social distance.”

Gillingham says some parents who are overwhelmed by the possibility of remote or blended learning for their kids this year are now thinking about enrolling in a private school for the first time.

“Parents are overwhelmed by what the options are, and they call us up, and we say 7:45 to 3:05, five days a week. Your student will be with us all the time, they’ll be properly supervised, we’ll make sure they’re wearing masks and keeping their distance. And they find a comfort in that,” Gillingham said.

Rockford Christian is experiencing similar calls. Principal of Student Services, Drew Popejoy, says although the school is offering remote learning and blended options, roughly 90% of families enrolled for this year are choosing full-time in person instruction.

“There’s a number of families that, they need a routine for their kids. They’re ready for that. They’re comfortable with them going to school. They wanted something five days a week,” Popejoy said.  “Being back to school, being face to face with a teacher, that really is the choice for most people. And it really is for most people the best way to learn.”

Even with some families turning towards private school for the first time, both schools say overall enrollment is down for the upcoming academic year.

Gillingham says his staff continues to field calls from interested parents.

“Parents keep thinking, ‘What am I going to do? What am I going to do?’ up until the last minute. So, there will be late decisions. We’re averaging about ten calls a day now, people asking for information.”

The first day of school for both Rockford Lutheran and Rockford Christian is scheduled for August 19th.

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