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From the Executive Director: A Year in Review

Zalihta Pegeese, A-Team Coordinator 
Katy Haun, Bridget French, Zalihta Pegeese
Maddy Lindquist

Hello and Happy New Year, 

In 2016, we said goodbye to  both   Governing Board Chair Rev. K. Edward Copeland and Operating Board Chair Jeff Hultman, as they ended their second three-year term with Alignment Rockford. Ed and Jeff were both instrumental in launching Alignment Rockford and creating the partnerships to ensure our organization's sustainability. On behalf of the Board and our staff, I want to personally thank both of them for their leadership. 

We're excited to welcome Bob Guirl as Governing Board Chair, and Jim Corbett as Operating Board chair, in addition to many other new board members and staff. I'm looking forward to working with all of them closely as we continue to move our organization forward. 

Speaking of staff, I am grateful for the opportunity to add two new members to the Alignment Rockford team this year. Zalihta Pegeese is our Alignment Team Coordinator, and started in the fall of 2016 just in time to work on the Academy Expo. Zalihta's role includes managing the work of the teams to ensure our work plans are being met with fidelity. 

We also hired our first-ever intern this year. Madeline (Maddy) Lindquist is a senior in high school and helps with clerical work. She's attending the University of Iowa in the fall, and we will miss her positive attitude and willingness to do anything asked of her!

Alignment Rockford was also awarded two grants in 2016. One was from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois to help offset expenses of hosting the Academy Expo. AR and RPS 205 also received a $400,000 grant from the Joyce Foundation to help enhance the work we're doing with Rockford Public Schools' high school Academies. Over half of the funds will go directly toward professional development for high school teachers and staff. We'll also host student leadership events for our student ambassadors and host a volunteer recruitment event in April, among other work. 

Our teams did a lot of fantastic work in 2016. Our Career Awareness team launched support of RPS 205's English Capstone 12 course with a fantastic event featuring industry partners from many different sectors. Our Healthy Starts team has spent the last year continuing to dissect the complex nature of our early childhood system, working toward connecting every child to resources that will provide them a strong foundation. Our College Readiness, Pathways, and Academy Expo team continue to make strides toward creating systematic change for our students. More detail to come in our Annual Report, due out this spring. 

We truly thank you for your support in 2016. We cannot do what we do without you! 

We wish you a healthy and prosperous New Year!


A Year in Review
Here's a glimpse at some of our favorite 2016 memories
Click an image for related media



 The Rockford Police Department's Identification Unit teams up  with Guilford High School for an inside look  at Crime Scene  Investigation. Thanks to the RPD and Alignment Rockford for  their help with this project. 

                     Dr. Ehren Jarrett

Welcome Anastasia Josephine Haun
Alignment Rockford's Katy Haun and her husband William welcomed their first child into the world on October 10, 2016. Anastasia Josephine was 7 pounds, 1 ounce when she was born. Both baby and mom are doing well, and are happy and healthy. 

Alignment Rockford teams are happy to welcome Katy back to her role as Community Engagement Coordinator this month. 

Congratulations Katy! 

2016 Excelsior Finalist Alignment Rockford: Aligning resources to support 
Rockford Public Schools

The Rockford Register Star's Excelsior award goes to an organization for community service, excellence and making a difference in the Rock River Valley. Alignment Rockford was a 2016 Excelsior finalist. Although Alignment Rockford was not the award winner, it was an honor to be nominated and recognized for the hard work that has been done since 2009 to fulfill the mission of  aligning community resources in support of public school strategies to raise student achievement, improve the health and happiness of our children, and advance the economic and social well-being of our community.

Congratulations to the 2016 Excelsior winner,  Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling, who, through their hard work and dedication, is having a positive impact on lives in the region by helping victim s heal.


( Congratulations to all the Finalists: Alignment Rockford, Annie's Locker, Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling, Rockford Sharefest, Rockford University, and United Way.)

"We will continue to focus on growing the work-based learning continuum for middle and high school, being intentional about engaging companies and organizations in those efforts. Additionally, we will grow our focus on early childhood, working with Transform Rockford's Education Spoke team to align those efforts."
- Bridget French, Executive Director of Alignment Rockford
What the nominator said:
"In seven years, due to the efforts of Alignment Rockford, hundreds of community volunteers working alongside school district leaders and staff have brought about systematic change in Rockford's public schools. Each year, more volunteers step up to join Alignment
Rockford teams, sharing their enthusiasm and professional expertise with staff and students in the district and "owning" their role as agents of change - for the good of the children and community alike."

 - Jeffrey Hultman, president and CEO of Illinois Bank & Trust  and operating board chair for Alignment Rockford.

To view pictures of the award night, click here.

It's not too late to consider Rockford's kids in this cold weather!

From now through February, drop off new hats and gloves to various locations. Items will be distributed to Rockford Public School District students of all ages.

Click here  for more information and locations.

Each month we feature one of our Alignment Team members in our series, Faces of Alignment Rockford. Below are the 2016 Faces of Alignment Rockford. 

From top-left: Dave Carson, Assistant Superintendent for School Improvement, Belvidere School District; Jacob BradtFounder/CEO, Rockford Buzz; Heidi Dettman, Executive Director of K-12 Curriculum, Rockford Public Schools. 
F rom bottom-left: Nik Butenhoff , Director of Career & Technical Education, Rockford Public Schools;  Chet Parker , Northeast Zone Coordinator, Rockford Park District;  Ray Beckman , Electrical Engineer, UTC Aerospace Systems

Click on any image to read more about these valued team members and their involvement in Alignment Rockford.  

Want an easy way to support the Academies? Check out the list of Academy Needs below to see if you or someone you know might be able to help out! 
Click on the need to see a detailed description.  

Informational materials related to Health Sciences Careers
Materials for building raised gardens and a bench for the atrium
Nook replacements (10) for Deaf and Hard of Hearing classes
Vectric software experts (VCarve and Aspire)
Car kits for a Pinewood Derby project
Health Sciences Professionals (Veterinarian, RN, chiropractic, sports med)
 Engineering and civil engineering Industry Experts 
Performing Arts Theater and Performance Production (music and/or theater) Professionals
 Snow Sculpting Materials
Industrial Trades and Manufacturing experts
 Studio Art Professionals 

Computer Coding and Hardware Professionals
Don't have time to join a team but want an easy way to help out?
Join the Excitement!
Click the image to the left to see your best fit in Alignment Rockford and Academy team involvement.

Alignment Rockford's mission is to align community resources in support of public school strategies to raise student achievement, improve the health and happiness of our children, and advance the economic and social well-being of our community.