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Dozens of Community Partners Collaborate to Launch Comprehensive Summer Program to Rebound from Pandemic

Rockford Public Schools, the Rockford Park District, Alignment Rockford and City of Rockford are working with more than 30 community partners for an unprecedented summer extended learning plan to help Rockford-area students recover from the academic and nonacademic challenges of the pandemic. This is a coordinated, strategic, and intentional effort to redesign our summer programs and support Rockford students year-round – both this summer and in the future. 

The comprehensive program is called Live, Learn, Play. It merges educational curriculum with recreational curriculum to develop our youth – our future workforce – to prepare them for college, careers and life after school. 

Dozens of community organizations are offering summer activities, camps and retreats under this umbrella program to blend meaningful, fun and engaging academic support into existing recreational, faith-based or community-based camps, after-care and summer programs. Our common goal is to connect students who need further enrichment and support with the community partners that can help. RPS 205 certified teachers and staff will meet students where they are: at community centers, Rockford Park District camps and events all summer. Community organizations will push into RPS 205 schools, too, to connect with, engage and support students.  

Who can participate

The goal is to connect with prek-12 private, public and parochial students in our community. Some programs require an invitation or for students to meet specific criteria. Others are open to all kids in the Rockford region. 

What started this partnership

The global pandemic has changed education and the way we teach and learn. For many families, it has triggered a dramatic interruption or worse: It has halted learning entirely. Studies show that learning loss experienced this past year can range anywhere from six months to 1.5 years and is often greater for low-income students. Many families are at crisis level, and our community must work together to get our students back on track. 

Sign up


Live Learn Play Logo

Look for summer program opportunities with the Live, Learn, Play logo. Find a complete list of community partners, ways to get involved and how to donate through Alignment Rockford



Get Involved

To volunteer, donate or support this initiative, contact Alignment Rockford Executive Director Anisha Grimmett 779-774-4389 or 


More information from two key partners:

Rockford Public Schools

This summer, 3,000 seats are available for K-12 RPS 205 students to participate. That’s the most students involved in summer programs. Last year, 2,600 students participated in virtual summer programs. Programs start June 21, and they’re free to RPS 205 students. Visit for more information and to sign up,

Programming includes: 

  • Summer camp for K-7 students that is five days each week July 6-30. Camp is a collaborative effort between the Rockford Park District, Discovery Center and the Improvement and Innovation Department.
  • Weeklong retreats for K-12 students. Retreats are interest-based events, like field trips and outdoor education. 
  • Early Childhood programming for up to 240 students, plus a calendar of events for Rockford’s youngest learners to participate. 
  • Eighth grade reFRESH program: This bridge program is for current eighth graders entering high school at Auburn, East, Guilford and Jefferson. Students may earn one credit for their participation. All students will participate in math, reading and an advisory class – such as study skills or high school readiness.  
  • Current high school students can participate in one of several credit recovery programs. 

Rockford Park District

The Rockford Park District is one of many organizations utilized every summer by youth and teens to learn lifelong skills, hang out with friends, and have fun. We know how important it is to keep youth active and engaged and this summer we know that infusing even more learning moments during play is going to be critical to impacting the student achievement gap which also impacts the long-term success of our community,” said Danielle Potter, Rockford Park District Operations Director.

Rockford Park District’s Live, Learn, Play offerings include:

  • Learning Labs for all Washington Park Community Center youth and teen camp participants. These are educational workshops that will encourage growth in reading, science, and math.
  • Enrichment opportunities at select Time 2 Play Neighborhood Playground programs which are free for 5 to 12 year old to attend. Locations include: Keye Mallquist, Wantz, Beattie, Elliot, Sawyer, and Lewis Lemon.
  • The Park District partners with RPS 205 to offer Camp No Other Future Like Yours at Cherry Valley Elementary School, Constance Lane, and Lewis Lemon for K-7. Auburn High School will be the location for middle school students.  
  • Atwood Center will provide students with one week retreat experiences before and after Camp No Other Future Like Yours

Additional Live, Learn, Play opportunities may be added throughout the summer. For more information visit,

  • Summer Programs