Chamber Presents Award of Honor to Rockford Public Schools

Superintendent Michael Shibler receives an Award of Honor for Rockford Public Schools from Polly VonEschen of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce (Photo courtesy of the Rockford Squire)

Rockford is a good place to live and do business, thanks in no small part to Rockford Public Schools.

So say leaders of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, who recently bestowed a special Award of Honor on the school system. In presenting the award to Superintendent Michael Shibler, the Chamber lauded RPS as “a shining school system” and “an integral part of the desirability of Rockford.” Officials likened RPS to one leg of a three-legged stool, which along with the city and Chamber “holds up the platform that is Rockford.” See more Rockford Chamber’s remarks

Indeed, the schools are vital to the community’s continuing growth, Chamber Executive Director Linda Southwick said later.

“One of the top reasons people move to the Rockford area is the Rockford Public Schools system, and our beautiful downtown,” said Southwick, an RPS grad whose four children also attended. “If they have children, I’m sure that No. 1 on their list is a good school system. We definitely have that.”

The Chamber highlighted the district’s academic strengths, including being the state’s only large district where every school has earned a Blue Ribbon School Exemplary State Board of Education Award. It also noted the successes of district arts and athletic programs, the $11 million recently dedicated to improve school security and students’ volunteering in community efforts such as Habitat for Humanity and Relay for Life.

Shibler said the award reflects the entire community’s commitment to education.

“This award belongs to everyone who makes RPS an outstanding school district,” Shibler said. “Our success is not only achieved because of the work by the Board of Education, staff and students, but the community as a whole plays an important role in supporting the schools.  We appreciate that relationship and this special recognition.”

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine, Religion News Service and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio.

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