Betsy DeVos visits Jefferson High School

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made a stop at Jefferson High School Monday to tour its college and career preparation courses. During the tour, DeVos praised the programs.

She says, "Their academy approach, to really help students explore different kinds of career paths. While in high school, it's a great model and one that seems to be working well for students here."

DeVos' nationwide tour is looking at a specific group of schools this year, schools in the Midwest that offer different classes that each focus on once specific thing. DeVos says, "We're trying to go to places are indeed looking at and thinking about doing things differently to meet students needs and to embrace the multitude of pathways that we have to be supporting for students."

DeVos met with students in four different classrooms that hold those academy classes. Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Ehren Jarrett describes the programs, "We saw a manufacturing program, which is designed to make sure students leave with real manufacturing credentials, We saw all of the way up to, seeing students becoming future law enforcement officers through their crime scene investigation course. And then we have the opportunity to have students who are building businesses through the incubator program."

Jarrett also says that these classes and programs are what makes Jefferson High School stand out. He says, "We are attempting to do things very uniquely to provide students with real hands-on learning. I think the reason that she targeted Jefferson High School as a place to visit is because we are attempting to do things very uniquely to provide students with real hands-on learning experiences, ensuring that our students all leaving high school college and career ready. So we were proud to have the opportunity to show that to a larger, federal audience."

With that federal audience, praise was met because of the differences they saw in the classes. DeVos says, "I just applaud the schools here in this area for continuing to think outside of the box and acknowledging that there are so many opportunities meet the needs of students and their careers and employers."