ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- We sometimes hear complaints about our local school districts, but it takes a community effort to make sure students succeed. And for District 205, Alignment Rockford is one of those voices.
Jefferson freshman Kristen Song dreams of different jobs, "I want to go to school for music or be a dentist."
It's typical for kids, but District 205 now has a new tool to help Song and other students figure out a career which might be right for them: high school career academies.
The redesign plan is spearheaded by Alignment Rockford.
"They joined in alignment with the school district to do the heavy lifting of research to see what models work for Rockford," says Judy Gustafson, the College and Career Readiness Academy Coach.
Students can choose from four different academies, and to help them decide there will be a large academy expo.
That's what these local business leaders prepare for at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Come September, this arena will be filled with five-thousand students who will explore more than a hundred different career opportunities
"The number one thing we want to do as community members is the same thing we want for our own children, and that is to help them figure out what they want to do in life, " says Alignment Rockford member Earl Wilsey.
The expo will be similar, but much larger than the pilot expo held at Jefferson last year. Career academies aren't just about fun, they're about discovering and ultimately getting that job to help students and the economy.
"What does the community need so that the young men and women who are graduating from our high schools, are prepared for college, career and for their lives," says Executive Director of Alignment Rockford Laurie Preece.
While focused on career academies, Alignment Rockford does have some other projects in the works.
Preece explains: "In June, we have 50 businesses that will be hosting over 100 teachers to go and learn how they use language arts, math, science and social studies at work, so they can go back into the classroom and teach in that context."
But when high school students hear Alignment Rockford, career academies is what stands out.
"It will definitely prepare us for our future," says Song.
Alignment Rockford celebrated its third anniversary this week. More than 100 community members serve on boards and committees, but hundreds of others help with school solutions.
It started with some community members who wanted to see improvement in our public schools. They believe regular people need to support the schools to see a transformation, whether that's time, resources, or ideas.
If you're interested in joining, visit this website for more information: http://www.alignmentrockford.com/
For more information on Alignment Rockford Behavioral Health Workshops for teachers: http://www2.rps205.com/Parents/StudentSupport/Pages/Alignment-Rockford.aspx
We have one more partnership to tell you about tomorrow. We'll visit the Building Trades Council in tomorrow night's report.