On September 3, 2019, Superintendent Dr. Lawrence gave his State of the Schools Address for the 2019-2020 school year at the joint Rock Island Rotary Club/Rock Island Kiwanis Club meeting at the QC Botanical Center.
Dr. Lawrence started the address off by sharing this school year's theme, "Pound The Rock."
"Pound The Rock" is a motto to succeed every day. It is a term the equates to the action of working hard, staying focus, and reaching your goals; the epitome of hard work," said Dr. Lawrence.
He also talked about his 100 Day Entry Plan. The three main areas of importance he wants to focus are on Increasing Academic Achievement through a Commitment to Equity, Enhancing Family and Community Engagement, and Sustaining Systems for Effective and Efficient Operations.
Dr. Lawrence reflected on last year. In June, 351 students graduated, earning over $3 million in college scholarships, and funding, and devoted over 2,000 hours in the community.
Some other highlights mentioned:
- Mathletes at Edison and Washington Jr. High dominated the top ten at the Mathcounts Competition
- RIHS Theatre department was selected to perform at the 2019 Illinois High School Theatre Festival
- The PRIDE of Rock Island Marching Band 2nd in Class 4A Competition and also placed in Top 5 at a Class 3A Competition
- 21 Rock Island High School State Scholars
- Frances Willard student Aunah Jones was selected as an All-State Musician by the Illinois Music Educators Association
- Three students received perfect math scores on the PARCC test at the grade school level
He talked about how the 1% Sales Tax has helped keep schools more secure. Dr. Lawrence also laid out what's coming up for the school district in 2019-2020.
For the first time in decades the school district is starting off the school year with a balanced budget and enrollment is up 40 students from last year with the hope enrollment keeps growing. This is the district's 5th year for the Community Eligibility Program and can provide breakfast and lunch at no cost to students.
Attendance will again be a priority. RIMSD#41 has been involved with United Way of the Quad Cities in combating chronic truancy through attendance incentives and parent involvement. Since 2016, students considered chronically truant ( missed 5% of school days without a valid excuse) has dropped from 20% to 16%. the attendance rate for the district has remained consistent at 93%, and we are looking at ways to improve that rate for the 2019-2020 year.