Rockford named Ford Next Generation Learning Community


Rockford named a Ford Next Generation Learning Community for innovation in high schools

Oct. 21, 2014 — Ford Motor Company Fund today announced that Rockford has been named a Ford Next Generation Learning Community. Rockford is now among 17 communities in the nation to receive the distinction.

The distinction celebrates the high school redesign in the Rockford Public Schools, which began with the rollout of the Academy model in 2010. Now RPS 205 will work toward becoming a Model Community by 2016, so Rockford can host visitors from other communities hoping to start career academies in their schools. RPS 205 celebrates the Ford NGL distinction with its community partners, the Rockford Area Economic Development Council and Alignment Rockford.

The vision for the College and Career Academies of Rockford is that every high school student will graduate from RPS 205 ready for college and/or a career. High school career academies are a proven national model in which students learn in a career-centered or interest-themed environment to make learning more relevant and engaging.
Ford Next Generation Learning is nationally recognized for its unique approach to meaningful engagement of key community stakeholders to transform existing public high schools into career academies where students learn their academics through the lens of a potential career. At the core of the program is a framework of essential practices that guides a community in development of its master plan.

“We are excited to expand our collaboration with Rockford to design and implement scalable and sustainable systems that provide students with the skills needed for success in college, career and life,” said Cheryl Carrier, executive director, Ford Next Generation Learning. “Our founder Henry Ford built an entire industry from his relentless focus on innovation. Ford Next Generation Learning brings Ford’s proven success with innovation in business and manufacturing to the arena of public high school education.”

Leaders from RPS 205 and the Rockford community were guided by Alignment Nashville, a Ford Next Generation Learning Community, to redesign RPS 205 high schools. Ford NGL recognizes schools across the country — and now Rockford — as innovators of education.

“We thank Ford Next Generation Learning for recognizing the hard work our staff, students and community partners are doing in Rockford,” said Superintendent Ehren Jarrett. “Nashville was the first community to receive a Model Community designation, and we hope to follow their lead. And just as we’ve learned from Nashville and the Academies of Nashville, we hope other districts can learn from us.”

With this recognition, Rockford will:
· Receive ongoing guidance and technical assistance from the Ford Next Generation Learning leadership team as the community works to implement its plan
· Join the Ford Next Generation Learning community national network and access best practices and practical solutions from other participating communities through peer-to-peer mentoring, online resources, webinars and program institutes
· Leverage the Ford Next Generation Learning designation to encourage economic development for the region to help demonstrate Rockford’s commitment to prepare students for high-wage, high-skill jobs in the community

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