Moving Forward Without Thompson

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

With a temporary superintendent at the helm, the Rockford school board is preparing for a new school year.
At Tuesday night's school board meeting, acting superintendent Linda Hernandez stressed that the district is ready for school to start August 27th, with or without Dennis Thompson.
Discussion centered around student discipline at Tuesday night's meeting. Administrators reported reductions in the number of expulsions, suspensions and truant students since the 05-06 school year. They credit the change to intervention programs like Fresh Start.
Still the data all point to a sharp increase in behavioral problems, starting in the seventh grade and peaking in ninth. Leaders say the report provides a framework to make improvements.
"Since we looked at the data and saw that the ninth grade is where all the problems peaked, we added the Freshman Foundation. We're trying to keep more kids in school, so instead of expelling students, if they had a discipline situation that was non-violent, we put them at Roosevelt," says Linda Hernandez.
The next step is to break the data down by school and by ethnicity. Those figures will be out soon.
Also at Tuesday night's meeting, Rockford economic leaders spoke to the board about getting involved in the business community. Board president Nancy Kalchbrenner says a strong link to their future workforce would motivate students to look forward to a goal.
Finally, remember to register your kids at their schools Wednesday between 7:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Dennis Thompson is in Naples, Florida interviewing with the Collier County school board for their superintendent position.
Last week, Rockford's board put Thompson on paid leave while he considers the move south. Our sources in Naples say Thompson fielded two hours of question from board members there Tuesday night.
At the end of the night, two of five school board members announced they definitely want to hire him, while others are concerned about legal repurcussions. The superintendent they fired is threatening to sue. A final decision is expected by next week.


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