ROCKFORD (WREX) – Cindy Kelly’s classroom is a bit more unique than most, it is located in the Rosecrance William Griffin Campus, which is a adolescent residential treatment facility.
Kelly works for Rockford Public School District 205, but she is a teacher for Rosecrance. Instead of getting a new class every fall, Kelly gets new students almost every single day. Students come to her for 30 to 40 days at a time, and they are battling things like substance abuse issues and mental health issues.
“When they come into my classroom, unlike most classrooms, their focus is with what they’re dealing with,” Kelly said.
Students come from different schools, different districts, and even different states. Each teen is at Rosecrance for treatment, which means Kelly has to juggle different curriculum for each student.
“She’s a phenomenal teacher, she consistently has to re-establish relationships with kids, every 30 days. And its a rotating thing, so it could be every day somebody new comes in and she does that flawlessly,” the Administrator of Child/Adolescent Services at Rosecrance, Stephen Smith, said.
Kelly said the unique setting that she works in is what makes her stand out, but her colleagues said it really takes a special person like Kelly to teach in such a unique classroom.
Kelly said she is forever grateful for her job, but her time at Rosecrance is coming to a close.
“I have been here for 30 years, I have been a teacher for 36 years, so yes I am retiring,” she said.
She said she gets emotional talking about leaving, but she hopes it is not goodbye forever.
“It’s been a blessing, it’s who I am, it’s what I’ve been,” she said.
Smith said Kelly will be very difficult to replace, and things will be odd when they start back up in the fall without her presence.
“Impossible to replace, with having been here 30 years she carries a lot of knowledge and skill so its going to be very very big pair of shoes to fill,” he said.