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First Meeting of the Year for High School Parent Advisory Council

By Kathy Cheney, 10/07/19, 12:45PM EDT

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The Rockford High School Parent Advisory Council held their first meeting of the 2019-2020 school year on Monday, Oct. 7 at 9 a.m. in the LGI room of the Freshman Center. All parents are welcome and many staff and administrators are present to give reports and address questions and concerns of parents.

Rockford High School Principal, Dan Zang started the meeting by telling the group, “This is the best way to get factual face-to-face communication with Rockford school administrators and staff.” All parents and staff in attendance introduced themselves and shared where their children are in the Rockford Public Schools, or beyond.  Despite being open to all parents of the more than 2,000 students, only about 12 were in attendance. The meetings usually last less than one hour, but as it was the first meeting this year, it went a little long.

In addition to Mr. Zang, multiple administrators from both high school buildings, counseling, security, athletics and Inter-School Advisory council were in attendance. Updates on OK2Say, testing, athletics, extra-curricular activities, counseling and more were included in the agenda and covered in the meeting.

Some of the highlights included a report by Scott Beckman, head of security. He discussed the ongoing struggle with vaping and concerns over unregulated THC edibles that the staff are on the alert for, the recent social media incident and his team’s constant efforts to funnel all OK2Say tips to the appropriate law enforcement and mental health stakeholders so that students are receiving the help that they need. There is a 90 minute Developing Healthy Kids Presentation that will take place Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 6:30 p.m. on “Opioids and Pain Killers.”

On a positive note, it was reported that for the third year in the row attendance at the Homecoming Dances was up and other than heat from the increased student attendance, a fun time was had by all. For the first year ever, the Homecoming Pep Assembly was open to all 9-12 graders and the freshman class won for being the most enthusiastic. A recent blood drive was held at the school and there were 117 donors for a total of 266 lifesaving blood transfusion.

The counseling office reported on a new partnership between the Freshman Center and the 10-12 building and many of the activities they are doing to help students be successful in high school and beyond. Peer tutors have been visiting the Freshman Center so that the 9th graders know that there are other Rockford students they can talk to if they have a problem.

The new Athletic director, Cole Andrews was in attendance and he encouraged all to check out Rockfordrams.org which is a new centralized web site with a master calendar and links to each high school team. The goal is to include all middle school sports as well. Followers can sign up for alerts for all sports or just a particular one. It is currently a work in progress and will continue to be updated as the year progresses. He also encouraged fans to follow the official social media pages which are Rockford Rams Athletics on Facebook and @RockfordAD on twitter. Instagram is coming. One of the new initiatives is that for select home games throughout the year, students will receive a free t-shirt (one per student) and then will receive free admission to high school sports when they wear that shirt. The first game where these shirts are available will be Friday, Oct. 11 at the home football game vs. Hudsonville. Look for more opportunities during other home sporting events to receive a free shirt if you are a student.

Parent teacher conferences are coming up on October 16 and 17 and first trimester Exam dates are November 14 and 15. Both of these occasions are opportunities to donate snacks to teachers and then to students for testing. Look for signup genius opportunities email through Family access. There are many cultural and sporting events happening all the time at Rockford but the fall play is November 7-9 and will be The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. The main character is a young adult with autism and will be played by a Rockford student with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

To get your own factual face-to-face updates from Rockford high school staff and administration plan to attend the very next Parent Advisory Council meeting which will be Monday, Nov. 4 at 9 a.m. in the LGI room at the Freshman Center. All feedback is welcomed and requested.