Rockford Public School board addresses district’s ‘underperforming’ report card

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Last week, Rockford Public School’s report card was released. At Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, board members received their first overview of the scores.

The Illinois Report Card contains four categories to summarize school performance: exemplary, commendable, underperforming, and lowest performing. The report revealed 20 of the district’s 39 schools are either “underperforming” or “lowest performing.” Those include three high schools: Jefferson, Auburn, and East. Only Guilford High School earned a spot in the “commendable” category.

The board plans to tackle the results by looking at the areas it has improved in, and take into consideration if those strategies can be implemented at other schools.

“We’ve seen some increases,” said Rockford Public Schools 205 Board President, Kenneth J. Scrivano. “You know, that tells us that we have a good plan and we need to continue to work on that plan. We’re not anywhere near where we need to be yet. We’re not satisfied, we want to do better.”

A specific area that the school board wants to see improvement in is with the graduation rate. Only 66% of RPS students graduate, while the state average is 86%.

RPS leaders say students’ lack of success in math early on in high school is playing a large role in the problem.

“If we speak with the freshmen, we talk to them and encourage them,” said Rockford Public Schools 205 board member Anthony Dixon. “We explain to them what’s going on and how it correlates to their graduation. I think that should be our focus, really, on the freshmen.”

One of the biggest talkers Tuesday night was Haskell Elementary. The school improved two categories from being among the lowest performing to the commendable category.

“What we’d like to do is use that as an evidence-based model that we could replicate in other schools to help kids improve in their growth areas and eventually that student achievement level,” said Scrivano.

Dixon said the district should take a close look at ways to improve, but also believes it’s important to celebrate success.

“Continue to push for minority teachers,” said Dixon. “I think that is key in this district and for the last three years I have pushed for that. I think we’re on the right page, we’re making progress.”

Tuesday night’s meeting begins the first of eight discussions regarding the district’s report card.

The board will be breaking down a category at each meeting until February.

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