Kishwaukee Elementary School Principal Aimee Kasper will continue her leadership role at the new Constance Lane Elementary School in the 2019-20 school year. The new K-5 school – under construction across the street from Kishwaukee Elementary – will replace the existing Kishwaukee, Nelson and Beyer elementary schools. The 86,000 square-foot, $17.7M school is expected to be ready for students at the start of the 2019-20 school year.
Kasper has led Kishwaukee as principal since 2011. She was named the Illinois Principals Association Elementary Principal of the Year for 2016-17. The award recognizes elementary school principals who have demonstrated a positive impact on their students and learning community. She has experience working as an elementary school teacher and reading specialist.
"Our vision is for this to be a community-focused school," said Joyann Kirschbaum, Executive Director of Early Childhood, Elementary and Special Program Schools. "Community organizations have been so willing to support our schools through partnerships and program development. Mrs. Kasper has clearly demonstrated in her time at Kishwaukee Elementary that she's eager to work with the community and build a staff that welcomes families and community partners to her school. I'm excited to see how Constance Lane Elementary School will develop into the community school that Superintendent Ehren Jarrett, the School Board and our community partners are envisioning."
The new K-5 school will have four strands (four kindergarten classrooms, four first grade classrooms, etc.). Cherry Valley Elementary School opened in August and was the first new school built in RPS 205 since 1998. Constance Lane Elementary School will open one year later.
The School Board agreed in March 2018 to name the school for the first black teacher in Rockford Public Schools. Constance Renick Lane served as an educator and administrator for more than 30 years. She retired as assistant superintendent for elementary education in 1985. She died in 2000. "Constance Lane Elementary School is named for a woman who contributed so much to our community, and I'm thrilled for this opportunity," Kasper said. "Our school will be a place where students, families, the community and our staff can work together to provide a 21st century education to our students and support our neighborhood."
Building two elementary schools is part of a board-approved facilities plan to upgrade RPS 205 buildings and shrink the district's footprint. The School Board approved an updated 10-year facilities plan in August 2014, based on in-depth analysis and community input. That plan outlined closing eight buildings and building 13 elementary school additions and two new schools.