Rockford Public Schools
Rockford Public Schools educate about 28,000 students in 48 facilities. Families may choose one of the following magnet programs, each with a focus on a specific type of teaching and learning:
The Montessori Program serves students PreK through grade 8. In the multi-aged Montessori classroom, children are encouraged to take responsibility for their own education. Students move freely around the room, selecting materials needed to carry out their individual plans. They work with a trained Montessori teacher, and older students serve as models for younger children. Students remain with the same teacher and classmates for two or three years, allowing the development of a strong sense of community with the classroom. Pre-K through third-grade classrooms are at Maria Montessori School, and fourth through eighth-grade classrooms are at Thurgood Marshall School.
Barbour Language Academy, for grades K-8, is a dual-language immersion school. In kindergarten and first grades, students receive 90 percent of their daily instruction in Spanish, and instructional time in Spanish declines by 10 percent each subsequent grade. By fifth grade, time is evenly balanced between Spanish and English. The academic standards and curriculum align with traditional RPS schools. The program promotes bilingualism, bi-literacy and positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors.
The Renaissance Gifted Academy, for grades 1-12, identifies and nurtures gifted students through specialized curriculum offerings which are modified and adapted to meet students’ unique learning styles, interests, abilities and needs. Students must test into the program, which challenges students to accelerate their skills and infuse creative and analytical thinking into core subject areas. Students in grades 1-5 attend Washington Academy; they continue the program at Thurgood Marshall for grades 6-8, and Auburn High School for grades 9-12.
At Haskell Year-Round Academy, elementary students in PreK through grade 5 receive the same number of instructional days as other RPS 205 schools, but they are spread throughout the calendar year. Students typically attend school for nine weeks and take two weeks off, which helps to avoid the “summer slide” – a loss of academic skills that typically occurs during the normal three-month summer break.
The Creative and Performing Arts program, or CAPA, provides grades 6-12 with a more in-depth arts experience. The program is housed at West Middle School and Auburn High School. After a successful audition, students may take part in dance, instrumental music, theater tech and media arts, vocal music and visual arts.
Partners in Success
Talented staff and community supporters are key to students’ growth and success. Of 2,051 RPS 205 teachers district-wide, more than half hold master’s degrees. This academic success among faculty translates to academic success among RPS students: Those who take at least three advanced placement courses score an average of 27 on their ACT. In addition, more than 120 area businesses provide support that connects students’ classroom work with real-world experience.
RPS 205 has many strong community partnerships. The district thrives because of the support from area organizations, businesses and a battalion of committed volunteers to produce students ready for college and careers.