Rockford needs fewer, larger elementary schools. More modern classrooms. One early education center for each quadrant of the city. It’s all part of a $250 million plan to improve every elementary school, except for the 7 to 9 targeted for closing.
The White House is moving forward with another round of its Strong Cities, Strong Communities program. The initiative lends federal expertise to struggling areas. The city of Rockford is part of the latest group.
Amtrak is coming off a record year for ridership. And it still hopes to re-establish service in northwest Illinois. That was supposed to happen near the end of this year. But supporters wonder if the project will get off the ground by then. Some also wonder if the new route will attract enough customers to sustain itself.
Students at Rockford’s Jefferson High School are on holiday break. When classes resume in January, they’ll keep navigating through the first full year of the school’s academy program. The initiative blends career-themed courses with traditional learning. Since the launch, WNIJ’s Mike Moen has been following two Jefferson students. He recently caught up with them, along with some new voices as well.