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At the Chamber of Commerce's Education Outlook Luncheon on September 8th, Rockford Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Ehren Jarrett shared many success stories occurring within the school district including an increase in graduation rates among minority students, an increasing public perception of the direction of the Rockford Public Schools, and exciting new college pathways initiatives in the forefront. Dr. Jarrett acknowledged the work of Alignment Rockford as a significant contributing factor to these successes and explained that while we have come a long way we still have a long way to go and need the community's support.  Read more

It's real. It's working.
Alignment Rockford's initiatives are changing the trajectory of our public schools and improving the outlook for our community's future. Alignment Rockford teams explore and implement best practices to change the way we "do" public school in Rockford. AR teams are focused on aligning existing resources to improve student achievement and raise graduation rates. 

This collaborative, strategic process ensures we have the workforce to support our community's future needs. A stronger economy means a better quality of life for everyone. Rockford Public Schools and hundreds of community volunteers are  ALL IN  for success. Together, we're changing the future, and we need you.

Here's How You Can Help
  • Host students at your business or organization.
  • Work on a planning team, an advisory council or an Academy Support Team in a school.
  • Be a volunteer at a school.
  • Donate goods or services.


Please help us by forwarding on!
2016 Academy Expo 

The 2016 Academy Expo held on September 29th at the BMO Harris Bank Center was a huge success with over 2,100 students, 700 volunteers, 123 career booths, and 110 local organizations. Thank you to those of you who volunteered, hosted a booth, took a tour, sponsored the event, or helped in a multitude of other ways. This was Alignment Rockford's fifth annual Academy Expo, a regional career exploration event for high school freshmen. 

The Academy Expo was designed by Alignment Rockford to serve as the introductory experience to the academy structure for Rockford Public School freshmen.  The event assists students in making an informed academy selection prior to their sophomore year. At the Academy Expo participating students experience career-related, hands-on demonstrations in a broad variety of careers which helps to forge a relevant link between curriculum and careers. 

The video below was created by Jefferson HS Senior, Jon Mandujano, who is in the BAMIT (Business, Arts, Modern World Languages & IT)  Academy and is very interested in film making and media production.

Academy Expo 2016 Video
Related media:

At the event, a team of community members and student ambassadors acted as judges and visited each of the career booths.

Based on the following criteria, the booth judges identified a Best in Academy award as well as a Best in Show:
  • Appearance of Booth
  • Presentation to Students
  • Interactive Acitivity

Capstone Kick-Off!  

On August 24th over 120 RPS 205 seniors enrolled in  English 12 Capstone course gathered at the RPS 205 District Administration Building for a kick-off event hosted by Alignment Rockford. Here students listened to four panelists, each representing one of the four College and Career Academies of Rockford, about concerns impacting their industry to help spark ideas for the students Capstone projects. Students listened to honest and powerful discussions from Dr. William Gorski, CEO of SwedishAmerican Health System; Ron Clewer, CEO of Rockford Housing Authority; Earl Wilsey, Vice President of Schmeling Construction; and Brenton Witherby, Vice President of Commercial Lending at Alpine Bank. After engaging in discussions with panelists, students broke out into small groups to further discuss possible project ideas with community volunteers. Read about this inspiring event from RPS 205's blog in RRSTAR.

Alignment Rockford's Career Awareness team is currently seeking community volunteers to further support these students as they work on their Capstone project throughout the year. Volunteers are needed to provide classroom workshops or to facilitate small group support throughout the year assisting with student's individual projects. Click here for more information. 
Each month we feature one of our Alignment Team members in our series, Faces of Alignment Rockford. This month we introduce you to Alignment Rockford's newest staff member, Zalihta Pegeese!  
Zalihta Pegeese
Alignment Team Coordinator
Alignment Rockford

Zalihta has  been with Alignment Rockford now for only less than 2 months and has already helped to coordinate the work of Alignment Rockford's five working teams. She jumped right into planning the 2016 Academy Expo career exploration event for over 2,100 RPS 205 freshman and 700 volunteers, and planning the first annual Capstone Consultant Program Kick-Off for over 120 RPS 205 seniors enrolled in the Capstone course. 

Zalihta comes from the public health industry and has a background in program coordination, facilitation and partnership development. She will facilitate the work of Alignment Rockford's community-wide teams, including project management, communication and planning. 

Click here to learn more about Zalihta and her work with Alignment Rockford. 
"What has stood out to me the most since I've began, was the excitement around the partnership between Alignment Rockford and Rockford Public Schools. There is undeniable strength and solidarity between the organizations that filters down to the volunteers." -  Zalihta Pegeese

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?

Thank you to our our community partners investing in our schools and students!
Auburn High School Capstone student, Brad Foster, presented to SwedishAmerican Foundation about his Capstone project which involved research into a new method for treating non-small cell lung cancer. To help him do the research, SwedishAmerican sponsored the purchase of a protein analyzer (silencing ribonucleic acid), which destroys all of a single protein in a cell. The product costs about $400 Click here to see them purchasing the protein analyzer. Click here to read more about Brad's project.

Deputy Chief Michael Dalke with the Rockford Police Department, and Alignment Rockford Operating Board member, answered a call for community assistance with an interdisciplinary crime scene project at Guilford High School during the first 2 weeks of April. Deputy Chief Dalke recruited detectives and investigators from the Rockford Police Department to spend several days walking students through real-world crime scene investigation techniques. Read more   from the RPS blog.   Check out this RPS video   showcasing the project.

Thanks to the work of two Academy Support Team members at Jefferson High School, Media Production students have had two project-based case learning experiences. Kathy Olson with Crusader Community Health wrote a grant to Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation to sponsor three public service announcements produced by students on oral and dental health.  Click to view.   

Ashley Burks with United Way of Rock River Valley commissioned Jefferson High School Media Production students to produce a documentary on the Midtown District as part of the Strong Neighborhoods Series.

Chet Parker with the Rockford Park District, and Alignment team member, provided supplies and designed and built raised garden beds for Roosevelt High School. The raised beds will be used in a school wide project across all Academies involving a farm to table theme.

Becky Costello with Rasmussen College, and an Academy Support Team member as well as a College & Career Readiness Council member helped to secure a donation from Rasmussen College to provide Roosevelt High School with 150 thumb-drives to assist students in saving pertinent information such as resume, cover letter, and student portfolio work. The staff at Rasmussen recorded inspirational quotes on each of the drives. Click here to see them. 

Home Depot has been a great partner to Guilford High School donating additional supplies with their orders to support student projects and storing their lumber for them until they are ready to use it.

Habitat for Humanity in Rockford is working with Guilford High School's Orientation to Construction classes which are building the pre-fabricated walls for a home this year to be assembled for a Rockford family. They are working to arrange a partnership where next year's Construction class (3rd year), will go offsite to assemble a Habitat for Humanity home including, electrical, plumbing, etc. Click to read more

Rockford Fire Department worked with a Guilford High School student who designed banners for the Fire Department providing a work-based learning opportunity for the student as well as an addition to his resume.  Click to view the banners .

NEW! 2016-2017 Capstone Consultant

Alignment Rockford's Career Awareness team is seeking services from the community to assist in one or all (3)
levels of support for the Capstone consultant program:
  • Provide workshops.
  • Provide ongoing classroom support.
  • Partner with Alignment Rockford in operating the Capstone Pilot Program.
 For more information and to respond to this invitation 
  click here. You must be logged in to respond.

To request a login for Alignment Rockford's page email Zalihta.

Ready, Set, Kindergarten!
The Healthy Starts team has developed community-wide messaging for all families with students going into kindergarten.The Ready Set Kindergarten! materials are aimed to ensure parents have a common understanding of the skills children need to be successful in kindergarten.

Services Needed from the Community:
  • Place the provided brochures and posters in a waiting area or employee break room
  • Include the information in your company newsletter (digital information provided)
  • Include the provided information in your church bulletin
  • Have brochures available for interested families to pick up
  • Display the information on your digital billboard or monitor
  • Promote the information on your social media sites
  • Provide brochures to patients or clients with young children
  • Sponsor or donate printing services
To respond to this invitation to please
click here . You must be logged in to respond.
Join the Excitement!
Click the image to the left to see your best fit in Alignment Rockford and Academy team involvement.

Support Alignment Rockford by shopping! When you shop with AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate to Alignment Rockford. Amazon supports us every time you shop. Click this link to begin shopping now:  Amazon Smile 

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.