New Rockford elementary school to be named for the district’s first black teacher

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A new elementary school in Rockford’s ORCHiD neighborhood will be named for the district’s first black teacher.

Constance Renick Lane served as an educator and administrator for more than 30 years. She retired as assistant superintendent for elementary education in 1985. She died in 2000.

The school board voted Tuesday night to name the new K-5 elementary school, which will serve students who live in Kishwaukee, Nelson and a portion of the Beyer school zones, Constance Lane Elementary School.

The name was chosen from a six name recommendations that included Constance Renick Lane, Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cherry Valley School, and Leonard B. Keller Elementary.

The school is scheduled to open for the 2019-20 school year. Both Kishwaukee and Nelson will close after the 2018-19 school year.

The $17.7 million school is scheduled to begin construction in the fall. It is one of two new schools under construction: Cherry Valley Elementary School will open at the start of the 2018-19 school year. It will replace the existing Cherry Valley, White Swan and Thompson elementary schools. 

These new schools will be the first new school construction projects in the Rockford Public School District 205 since 1998.

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