Transform Rockford's "Ready to Learn" initiative kicks off

Published: Oct. 26, 2018 at 7:00 PM CDT
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With the goal to make Rockford a Top 25 city by 2025, three local organizations announce a new initiative - focused on putting our city's children on the right track to a successful career and life.

Ready to Learn, a partnership led by Transform Rockford, Alignment Rockford and Rockford Public Schools is designed to help kids succeed, in school and life. The initiative will start by assessing each child's level of development.

"We know that if we get to third grade, that's too late. we're going to be doing an assessment of kindergarten students that'll help us drive social supports to whole neighborhoods so that we, from prenatal on, all the way up, provide the social and community connections that help children thrive," co-chair Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson said.

Working with the Erikson Institute, this three-year plan uses the Early Development Instrument, which analyzes five areas: health outcomes, school attendance, access to immunizations, nutrition and social work.

The Institute will then provide data that identifies strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities for growth across neighborhoods throughout the city. Those results can provide insight into where community resources should be directed in order to foster future excellence.

"If we want a city and a region that succeeds, that people want to be a part of, where we see increased employment, reduced crime, more thriving, more culture, more art...more joy and happiness and family health, less domestic violence, all the things we're driving towards, the outcome of children matters," Johnson said.