Early childhood learning takes rank at Alignment Rockford

Published: Jan. 13, 2020 at 6:24 PM CST
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Several community leaders in Rockford are investing in early childhood learning. Anisha Grimmet is the Executive director of Alignment Rockford and she cannot wait to see the community impact.

"I am looking forward to seeing our kids and our families thriving in our community," said Grimmet. " Putting this information into their culture into their own organizations you are already reaching a fair amount of our community."

The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois awarded a grant to Alignment Rockford's ready to learn program in a recent news conference. This gives Alignment the ability to hire a full- time staff member, and $70,0000 a year for three years .

"Do the administrative work, and get the meetings together and communicate with the public and engage folks," Matthew Johnson, Ready to Learn said.

To help gather data on Rockford's kindergarten students, Ready to Learn paired with the Erikson Institute.

"We are launching three action teams, a policy round table and a group of community connectors," said Heidi Dettman, RPS 205. "To take that data from simple a number set into actionable items to change outcomes for kids."

The stat highlighted students' strengths and weaknesses in five categories like physical health and well being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, and communication skills.

"We have vulnerabilities across our community in all domains and some neighborhoods where students are vulnerable in all five domains," Dettman said. "If it works here could it also work in another neighborhood. So we can use that strength based information to get to know families and what works for them so we can replicate the best practices."