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 My Experience as an RPS 205 Parent

10/15/2018 8:00 AM

​I remember the first day I became an RPS 205 parent; I was registering my son James at Spring Creek Elementary School for kindergarten in 2003. We were greeted by the building principal, Ms. Kinney. I was quickly recruited by the PTO and officially became a PTO mom.   

My experience as an RPS 205 parent was expensive and exhausting – but well worth it!  As a parent of a child with special needs, I attended every IEP and 504 Plan meeting along with school open houses. I was actively involved with PTOs and served on the Fun Fair committee. I attended mother/son dances, band concerts, art fairs and all the sporting events/meets, both near and far. I went to all the parent/team meetings for bowling and swimming and purchased overpriced spirit wear for my student and family members. And let's not forget the long PTO and Booster Club meetings … but I loved the socials afterwards! I enjoyed working concessions at football games with the swim team and appreciated the Booster Club dinner nights out … they usually fell on a game night.

I attended every single parent-teacher conference, where I stood in long lines talking with other parents while waiting anxiously to hear how my children were doing academically. I appreciated the support of the teachers, staff and counselors. They not only provided helpful resources, they also shared kind words about my children and truly had their best interests at heart!

Both my children were active in sports and other activities while attending Rockford Public Schools. James was on the Lincoln Middle School bowling team and the Guilford Boys Bowling Team all four years, including the 2014 State Championship team! He enjoyed being in theatre, participating in golf and all the tomfoolery associated with homecoming week. I was the assistant boys bowling coach alongside James when he was the head coach. It was fun calling him "coach" and odd to hear him call me by my first name (and not Mom!) I loved watching him coach and mentor his team at the bowling matches and was so disappointed when they missed the state cut by only two pins.  

Janelle swam three years at Eisenhower Middle School​ and was team MVP her 8th grade year. She swam three years for the Guilford Girls Swim team and was the team captain for two of those three years.  She recently hung up her goggles to focus on her academics – however, she stays busy volunteering at PAWS, hanging out with friends and working. Guilford offers a wide variety of different clubs for students to join. There is literally something for everyone! She remains involved with National Honor Society, being a student ambassador and the Young Women's Leadership Organization (YWLO). 

James started SIUE in August as a junior; the diversity of the campus was no different from the high school he had graduated from. How fortunate my children are to have had that real world experience not once, but twice! 

All this fun will come to an end in May 2019.  I've enjoyed being an exhausted RPS 205 parent for the last 16 years. I look forward to saving money on gas, food, overpriced wrapping paper, cookie dough, and spirit wear! I am excited for the new chapter of their lives to begin after RPS 205. I feel confident they are prepared for whatever new adventures are thrown their way.  

My advice to parents – get involved and enjoy every moment. Buy the expensive wrapping paper, cookie dough and overpriced spirit wear. Sixteen years goes by really fast. I'll miss it terribly as I already do.

Amy Ekstrom and her son, James.
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