High school academy program taking shape in Rockford

May 14, 2012

The school board is preparing to vote on the proposal later this month. Supporters hope it will boost the district's graduation rate.

Under the program, students would still be required to continue taking their regular courses.  But they would get the chance to engage in curriculum that would set them on a more defined path toward college or a professional career.

Jean Harezlak is a professor of education at Rockford College and works with a community group that is spearheading the effort. She says it appears the group has done a good job in gathering data from other programs around the country. She also says they're making sure the program would work in Rockford.

"They talked with students and developed programs that they felt fit the clientele that attend our schools."

Harezlak says getting teachers to fully commit to the program is a vital component. The Rockford teacher's union did not respond to requests for an interview. But School Board President Harmon Mitchell says he believes teachers are on-board with the plan. He says some of the bigger concerns have to do with the district taking on additional costs.