Throughout an optimistic, 30-minute state of the schools speech, Rockford superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson promised an even stronger District 205 in 2005; tougher on achievement, tougher on curriculum, tougher on student discipline.
"I'm not going to tolerate disruptions to the learning environment. That's unacceptable, you've got too many kids that need to learn and too little time to do it, so we're not going to take it. We are going to give every kid multiple chances to succeed," Thompson said.
Thompson argued for more challenging, stronger weighted high school core classes. This, to prepare students better for college by studying more and slacking less.
"Many mistakenly think that if I have a 4.0 GPA that'll look good for college, but if that not's combined with an excellent preparation in science, math and social studies, they won't succeed in college, and we want them to succeed," Thompson said.
Area college administrators applauded the crackdown on high school achievement and how it would boost the area's college achievement.
"Students are not mastering those at a point where they are ready for college curriculum, and if we can work to improve that, it will be great for the whole community," Rock Valley College President Jack Becherer said.
To boost student achievement, Dr. Thompson laid out his goals, and promised to continually review and correct academic problems quickly, in every school, at every level.
"They are really trying to do assessments constantly and then tie in what we're doing with the kids and with the assessments, so if we see the kids are having trouble in certain areas that we are addressing that in our curriculum and that’s a critical issue from pre-k to 12th grade," School Board President Nancy Kalchbrenner said.
And though the superintendent admitted while serious academic and financial problems remain, Dr. Thompson is confident the district from top to bottom can turn it around.
"We've got excellent teachers, principals, administrators. I really feel like I thought earlier when I thought this district had potential to succeed. I thought that before, not only to succeed, but to succeed wondrously,” Thompson said.