A partnership between Rockford University and Rockford Public Schools (RPS) was designed over a year ago and was approved by the Rockford School Board on Tuesday night. Its goal is to attract RPS students to the teaching profession — specifically to work in RPS 205.
“We are so excited about this partnership. What’s unique about it is, it is going to give our own, homegrown students the opportunity to stay in our community and get an absolutely great value,” RPS Superintendent Ehren Jarrett says.
“The outcome is going to be fantastic for our community. This will deliver so many, many benefits,” said Rockford University President, Dr. Robert Head.
The program begins in middle school, with seventh and eighth graders learning about careers in teaching. It then continues into high school, with a 3-year teaching pathway for 80-100 students. Students will be allowed to participate in one course each year, in grades 10, 11 and 12. The program also includes a senior Capstone course for dual credit.
The program then transitions into a college degree program at Rockford University.
“They get a chance to go to Rockford University for four years, hopefully be hired by the Rockford Public School System, and then get a master’s degree paid for. So we think that is a powerful value proposition,” Jarrett said.
And it just isn’t going to Rockford University for four years; the program will allow students who meet admission criteria to attend the college for $5,000 or $10,000 per year — depending on financial need.
Thus, students will be paying either $20,000 or $40,000 for a bachelor’s degree through the program, which is much cheaper then the normal amount of $142,000.
Officials hope the extra initiative will help keep students in the Stateline
“In addition to being a benefit for the students that come through and the public school system, we’ll all grow from that,” Head says.