State stepping in to help several Rockford public schools after many don’t make the grade


ROCKFORD (WREX) — More than half of the schools in Rockford Public School District 205 are either deemed underperforming or lowest-performing from the state for the first time.

“We as the board have been pretty clear. This is not acceptable,” RPS 205 School Board President Ken Scrivano says.

According to the state, 16 schools are considered to be lowest-performing. That means they are in the bottom 5 percent of lowest-performing schools in Illinois.

The state also says 12 schools fall into the underperforming designation. About 15 percent of school statewide are considered to be underperforming.

Because of these new designation, the state is now coming in to help lift those schools out of their slump. The district has to look at each one of those schools and pin point problems that could be holding them back.

Then, RPS 205 picks a learning partner from the state to help it work through those issues.

“The learning partners will come in to meet their needs to determine if they need support in instruction or they need support in governance,” Kelly Monson, the district chief continuous improvement officer says.

This extra help also comes with some extra funding from the state.

Schools that are deemed to be lowest-performing will get up to $100,000 from the state. That money will help bring in resources each school says it needs to solve those problems.

“They can utilize the support for additional professional development, they can identify different needs of other menu items that we’ve already identified in our district that we have been working towards,” Monson says.

RPS 205 says the amount of extra funding from the state could go down over the next few years if it starts to show improvement. But, it says it’s guaranteed to have its learning partner from the state for at least the next three years.

Even though Illinois is stepping into several Rockford schools, the hope is that the guidance from the state will help those schools make a turnaround.

“We’re looking forward to that partnership and we’re looking forward to see what we can do to truly support our schools,” Monson says.

Andi TenBarge

Andi TenBarge

Reporter

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