Math program weak. Most of the kids who are good at math have parents who supplement the sucky Every Day Math program. The ISAT scores are impressive but misleading and can be attributed in large part to parents/ demographics, quite a few Science and Engineering types. I am also guessing that some of the very low ISAT scores by some students are not counted in the mean because these students are classified as special ed.
My two children had an excellent education here. Families get to know each other well as there are many great opportunities to get involved. The new (2012) principal is fantastic - he creates an optimistic environment for teaching and learning.
My children's teachers at Rockland have been exceptionally qualified, dedicated and caring. Many of the parents are down to earth and really value education. I was surprised, however, in the polarity of reading levels in my daughter's first grade class at the end of the school year. A good quarter of the class read below grade level, but then another quarter read way above grade level. Perhaps this reflects the demographics at the school? In addition, I believe there is too much funding and attention directed toward special education and special needs programs. This is not to say that these programs are not important, but if you look at the Rockland school staff, there are 4 special education/ paraeducators, 1 resource teacher, 1 OT specialist and 3 speech teachers serving a student body of 320 kids. No wonder our property taxes are outrageous! In contrast, the gifted program relies heavily on parent volunteers.
Throughout the years, D70 schools, including Rockland, have scored FAR ABOVE state standards in the ISATs. The schools hit in the 90-98 percent range of meet or exceed state standards. Teachers and administrators aim for 100 percent, a near impossibility, but it shows how the district competes against itself, not state scores. Since EveryDay math was introduced, the district has continued to see increasing scores in ISATs for math, at all the schools. It is one of the strongest areas for Rockland and the district. Check the State School Report Card. It tells the story.
Although students compare well against state some of that has to be attributed to demographic / parents. Math Curriculum is weak and the kids don't get any homework - good for parents :) Unfortunately are kids will not be competing against Illinois students to get into UI...they will be well prepared students from around the world. Our schools need to stop with the high five's when they perform well against the states low standards. Love the School but can't rate any of the above average unless they set higher standards.
Rockland School is a nice neighborhood school in a close-knit community. The teachers and administration really care about the students and work to help them achieve academically. My biggest complaint is the use of Everyday Math (which is district-wide.) At times the 'spiraled' format presents concepts before some children are developmentally able to comprend them. Parents are assured not to worry, since the concepts will reappear at some future point. This results in a disjuncted approach to math, and can be very frustrating to students and parents alike.
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