Public schools: District 205 shares plan to expand gifted, arts programs
Online Staff Report
Editor’s Note: Rockford Public School District 205 issued the following press release Feb. 10 regarding the future of gifted and arts programs in Rockford.
The Rockford Public Schools leadership team developed a plan to expand the district’s successful arts and gifted programs as early as the 2012-2013 school year.
The plan calls for keeping the creative and performing arts program at Auburn and implementing a creative arts curriculum in all four of the district’s high schools.
“With the board’s positive movement in creating a seventh hour next year in our middle and high schools, we want to be able to offer a robust and high-quality arts program to every RPS 205 high school student,” said Martha Hayes, assistant superintendent for learning. “Implementing a multi-million dollar expansion of our arts curriculum into all of our high schools allows us to do that.”
The expansion means additional art, drama, music and other creative curriculum offerings in all RPS 205 high schools.
The district also plans to expand the successful gifted program. In the 2012-2013 school year, the district would move seventh- and eighth-grade gifted students out of Washington Academy and into the now empty former Kennedy Middle School.
“We continue to have a long wait list of eligible students who simply can’t enter our gifted program because of space limitations,” said Michele Beach, the district’s Gifted Program administrator. “Having so many high-achieving students in our district is a wonderful issue, but not so wonderful if we don’t have space in which to educate them.”
Starting next fall, an extra class would be added to each K-5 grade at Washington and the current sixth- and eighth-graders would move to Kennedy, allowing that student population to potentially double based on the number of qualifying students.
“We want to do more of what we do well,” said Interim Superintendent Robert Willis. “We are in the top five in the state for our gifted program, and we need to remain competitive as an option for private schools and for families who would like to move back to Rockford. The expansion of our arts and gifted curriculum allow us to offer a quality of education not found elsewhere in our region.”
Posted Feb. 10, 2012
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