State report card shows victories and losses for RPS 205

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 12:27 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Schools across the country are reeling after COVID-19 gutted in-person learning and instruction time. According to the Nation’s Report Card, reading proficiency declined back to levels seen last in 1992, and nearly four in 10 eighth graders didn’t meet basic math proficiency. U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona called the results “appalling, unacceptable and a reminder of the impact that this pandemic has had on our learners.”

In the Stateline, school districts struggled in some areas, but saw gains in others.

In the Forest City, RPS 205′s graduation rate is still more than 20 points below the state’s overall. The district sits at 65.6%, while the state’s rate of success in 2022 was 87.3%. 12.8% of students in the RPS district met or exceeded SAT score expectations. In Illinois as a whole, 29.9% met the standard.

However, the school district did improve in one area school officials say creates hope for the future. The metric, dubbed " 9th Grade On Track,” is a predictor of freshman students who are on the course of success and eventual graduation. From 2019 to 2021, Rockford Public School’s 9th Grade on Track rate hovered in the mid-60s. This year, 74.5% of 9th graders are on track.

“We are one of the few large districts in the country that found a way to offer in-person learning during the 2021 school year for all our families who wanted to, and about 60% of our students took us up on that,” said Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Ehren Jarrett. “So as a result, we are seeing test score declines that have actually helped us to gain on the state average.”

Jarrett recognizes the district has a long way to go to close the gaps between RPS 205 and the state.

“Four schedule changes to keep schools open for families who wanted that, so I’m really part of the work we did and I think we limited some of the damage. That still does not take away the fact that we have a lot of work to do.”

View the district’s full report card here.