Rock Island Superintendent Updates on State of the Schools

September  03, 2013

The Rock Island School District hopes to prepare students for college and beyond. During his annual State of the Schools address Tuesday, Superintendent Mike Oberhaus discussed where the district is falling behind on its mission, and what it's doing to improve.

Oberhaus says compared with other schools, the school district is receiving less money from the state.

"We spend $1,600 less per pupil right now than the average in the state of Illinois," said Oberhaus. "If you take that and you multiply the $1,600 with the number of students we have, that'll generate well over $9 million more for some programming and opportunities for our students. So we will continue to work with the great state of Illinois to try and minimize the inequity of funding throughout the entire state."

As a result, state standardized test scores are suffering.

"Our students are not fairing as well as we'd like them to," said Oberhaus. "We're below the state average and score. We continue to work diligently with different programs and improvements, professional development, to enhance the learning opportunities for students to get to higher levels of student success in the future years ... We have certain segments of our student population that don't perform as well as other students within our group, and we're going to do everything we can to close that gap."

The school district hopes to improve education with a revamped report card, a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, or STEM, education, and new ways for students to explore career options. 

But, Oberhaus says, children are only in school 166 days a year. The importance of education must reinforced by others in Rock Island.

"We will continue to fight the fight and win battles at our high school, and our junior highs, and elementaries and pre-k programs," said Oberhaus. "But we need every one in the community to leverage the resources we have to be successful. Because together as a community we will all be dream builders for every child."
 
After years of decline, the Rock Island School District has seen an increase in enrollment for the fifth year in a row, which correlates with an increase in non-English speaking students and students receiving free and reduced lunches.