Alignment Collaborative for Education
U-46 and our schools have many long-time community partners—District-wide advisory councils, business partners, municipalities, organizations and agencies, places of worship, colleges and universities, and other groups. Over the years, we have celebrated the relationships that our schools have maintained. U-46 has been recognized by the state for our exemplary collaborations, and we have worked hard to keep our partners informed and involved.
Now we have a new opportunity to take our collaborations to the next level—and what’s different is that the work is led by the public schools. The model of aligning community work with the schools originated in Nashville, Tennessee, and has been adopted by 10 communities across the U.S., including Rockford. The initiative is called Alignment, and our own Alignment Collaborative for Education was established in 2015.
The Alignment mission is “to align community resources in support of public school strategies to raise student achievement, improve the health and happiness of our children, create responsible, productive and contributing members of our society, and advance the economic and social well-being of our community.”
In May 2013, Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain convened the first Education Summit and encouraged participants to see what other communities have done in partnership with their local schools. Since then, the staff of the City of Elgin has been working with U-46, the United Way of Elgin, Grand Victoria Foundation, and Elgin Community College to research Alignment and to begin the process of creating a local organization that includes U-46. Community presentations were made to numerous organizations, including the U-46 Board of Education and administration.
Alignment's Governing Board, which includes representatives from the communities across U-46, is chaired by Peter Sikorski, chief financial officer of Lobsterboys. Its Operating Board is chaired by Bill Wright, director of the Overture Group, and Ann Chan, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources at U-46.
- A system designed to support a public school district's strategic plan for student success by aligning community resources
- An organization of organizations
- A toolset designed to support a system
- Focused on generational change
Alignment Nashville and Alignment Rockford have been providing technical assistance as our local organization is forming. They are able to point to specific outcomes as a result of having partners focus on issues; for example, the graduation rate in Nashville has increased from 58 to 80 percent.
Our first three areas of work and committees called “A-teams” are Early Education, Trauma-Informed Care, and Educational Pathways. Each committee is co-chaired by an educator and a community member.
Representing U-46 as A-team co-chairs are Kathleen Cox, Director of Early Learners Initiatives; John Heiderscheidt, Director of School Safety & Culture; and Mitchell Briesemeister, Director of Educational Pathways.
For a Fact Sheet on Alignment, click here.
To read Alignment's fall 2020 update to the U-46 Board of Education, click here.