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RPS 205 to Expand Career Preparation

laptop on table, chefs in kitchen

Rockford Public Schools has been awarded a state grant providing $150,000 each year for three years to promote innovation in career and technical education.

The Illinois State Board of Education notified the RPS 205 College and Career Readiness Department in January it won the grant. The department plans to use the additional resources to create two new pathways in RPS 205 high school academies: 

  • Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management in the Service Academy  
  • Marketing and Communications in the Business Academy  

These pathways were chosen after analysis of labor trends and projections, and collaboration with the Workforce Investment Board, the Illinois Department of Employment Security and Northern Illinois University’s Education Systems Center, which specializes in outreach for regional development. (Learn more about RPS 205 Academies and Pathways.)

These factors drove the pathways selection: 

  • Students as well as local businesses have consistently asked for career preparation in culinary arts  
  • The Rockford Metropolitan Statistical Area is projected to gain 13,561 jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry by 2026, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security 
  • Principals were unanimously in support of the two pathway additions 
  • News literacy will be an important emphasis for students as sources of information become more varied. Our high school offerings in areas such as newspaper and yearbook need to better match the way people consume information today 

District leaders have no plans to eliminate any existing pathways to make room for the two additions. Curriculum for the two pathways is in development. High school freshmen next year can enroll in the Culinary Arts & Restaurant Management Pathway and the Marketing & Communications Pathway, with additional courses being added each following year:

Academy Pathway Courses School Year
Service Academy Culinary Arts & Restaurant Management
College & Career Readiness 2021-22
Orientation to Restaurant Management & Hospitality 2022-23
Intro to Culinary Arts/Food Service Sanitation 2023-24
Fast Casual Dining Operations 2024-25
Business Academy Marketing & Communications College & Career Readiness 2021-22
Intro to Business & Technology Concepts 2021-22
Professional Communication 2022-23
Marketing & Branding 2023-24


  • Business Academy
  • College and Career Readiness
  • Service Academy