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RPS 205 Celebrates 19th Annual Dictionary Day


Rockford Public Schools will celebrate Dictionary Day on Tuesday, Oct. 20, in elementary schools across the district. All RPS 205 third graders – an estimated 2,000 students – will receive their own hardcover, color copy of the Macmillan Fully Illustrated Dictionary for Children, courtesy of the Sara Ingrassia – Jackie Confer Dictionary Fund.

This is the 19th year RPS 205 third graders have received dictionaries through the fund. Students use the books in class, then add them to their home libraries for continued use.

“If we expect children to be lifelong learners, we have to give them the tools they need,” said Peter Damby, a retired RPS 205 administrator and president of the Dictionary Fund. Not many students have dictionaries – let alone their own personal copy that will be helpful in any subject area, Damby said.

Each year, donors provide the estimated $40,000 necessary to give every third grader his or her own book. The fund celebrates former Rockford School Board members Sara Ingrassia and Jackie Confer. Learn more at 

Donations can be made to: The Dictionary Fund P.O. Box 4154 Rockford, IL 61110

Media are invited to attend dictionary distribution on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at the following schools: 

  • ​Thompson Elementary School: 8:05-8:25 a.m.
    Carol Parker, Dictionary Fund Executive Board member and former RPS 205 School Board President, will distribute books to Thompson Elementary third graders.
  • Conklin Elementary School: 8-8:45 a.m.
    Ed Conklin, Dictionary Fund Advisory Board member and son of Conklin Elementary School’s namesake, will distribute books to Conklin Elementary School third graders.​