Maps show school board where children are thriving, and struggling

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- In order to be ready to learn in kindergarten, children should show promise in five developmental categories.

Preparing for kindergarten

"When those things are strong, they're ready to learn," says Matthew Johnson, who is on the Ready to Learn team. "When those things are vulnerable and not ready, we have to catch them up."

The five categories are physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language development and communication skills.

Kindergarten teachers answered over 100 questions for each student to collect this data. Some questions asked if children could hold a pencil, comfort other children who were crying or if they can communicate with children and adults.

A Ready To Learn Pilot team made up of Alignment Rockford, Transform Rockford, RPS 205, Erickson Institute and over 40 community organizations is designed to collect the data.

“It’s a movement really,” says Erikson Institute's Jaclyn Vasquez. "Data is just the beginning, now it's all about taking it out into the community and learning from residents why."

The team used that data to create maps to show where children are performing well, and where they are vulnerable. School board members saw the maps at Tuesday's committee meeting.

"Some neighborhoods are pretty strong in some areas, and vulnerable in others," says Johnson. "Other neighborhoods are strong across the board, and some are vulnerable across the board."

The data is still in a draft stage, and the team asks the information remains in their inner circle to avoid misinformation and respect residents in vulnerable areas.

The next steps require community meetings, and developing a plan to uplift the areas where kids are scoring lower.