Rockford Public Schools and Rockford University honored twenty students, Tuesday night, for pursuing a career in teaching with a new agreement between the district and the university.

The goal of the pathway is to identify students with the talent and aptitude for careers in education, provide them with mentoring and financial support to help them reach their potential, and recruit them to teach at Rockford Public Schools after they graduate.

The students will do their student teaching at Rockford Public Schools and receive priority placement for jobs in the district. As RPS teachers, they also will get an opportunity to receive a master’s degree in urban education from Rockford University for free.

This is really awesome, and Rockford will use this as a way to diversify its teaching staff. reports that, "This year’s RPS-RU education pathway class — the first full class of 20 students — includes about six Hispanic students, one black and one Asian. Eight of the students are from East High School. Six are from Guilford. Five are from Jefferson and one is from Auburn."