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Work-Based Learning Continuum

As students enter their senior year, they’ve identified their career interest and have had opportunities within their class work to part of that career like: The Academy Expo, Sophomore Site Visits, and Job Shadowing. In their last year, students have the option to create a capstone project based on the need within the industry and community. Capstone projects are the last stage in developing a student’s exposure to their desired industry throughout their time in high school. The capstone is identified as the last work-based learning experience a student should have on the spectrum of work-based learning projects through Rockford Public Schools. 

Work-based learning opportunities enable participants the chance to gain or enhance their skills while they are still in a safe environment. These opportunities include training, internships and apprenticeships, and ultimately, permanent jobs as part of a career pathways program. (U.S. Department of Labor).

Rockford Public Schools has adopted a work-based learning continuum which sets up the framework for work-based learning experiences from 8th grade to 12th grade. Work-based learning is a valuable component of a comprehensive education; it provides students with the opportunities to engage in deep exploration and preparation for the eventual world of work in the context of academic preparation for both college and career. Work-based learning also teaches important and essential skills, such as working in a team, appropriate workplace behavior, and critical thinking. These are skills that are vital in both college and career and will set RPS students apart as they enter into the next phase of their academic careers. 

Each student is responsible for a capstone idea. Alignment Rockford provides key industry partners to assist with planning the project in the industry, and community members to assist with project management. This year, our Capstone Team has implemented another round of capstone projects! 

Next Steps:

The Capstone Course will not be offered during the 2019/2020 school year. Instead, the Capstone Team will re-focus to support a new program: INCubatorEDU

This program is much like a capstone project – students will have the opportunity to create and develop an product or business. Rockford Public Schools is offering students an authentic, collaborative, entrepreneurship experience with INCubatoredu. Students will build, test, learn, and apply and idea over the course of eight units. Unlike the capstone course, students acquire the foundational business concepts, then apply those concepts to the team’s new business idea. Principles from these learning models help students test their thinking. From Concept to Minimum Viable Product to Pitch, students are hypothesizing, testing, adapting and learning. Importantly, they work and learn in teams. The Capstone A-Team will provide the community support needed to develop students’ ideas. 

Stay tuned for more information! 

Capstone Kick-off

Every year around August/September, Alignment Rockford and Rockford Public Schools hosts the Capstone Kick-off, an event for all seniors enrolled in the capstone course to start planning their projects, talk with industry experts on potential projects, and to take short sessions on project management. 

This year, the Capstone Kick-off was held at Rock Valley College’s Stenstrom Center and included hour long seminars about communications, project management and problem solving. Here are some pictures from the kick-off below! 

How to Get Involved

The Capstone is a revolving project, so we are always looking for mentors, panelists, or volunteers from a wide rang of careers.. Depending on the time of the school year, our students are in different phases of their capstone projects. If you are interested in getting involved with Capstone, please fill out the ITP or contact us to see how you can help!  

You can see the full description of Capstone by clicking on the buttons!