Rockford College is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian liberal arts college located in Rockford, Illinois. Established in 1847, Rockford College has an enrollment of approximately 1200 students. The College’s mission is to “educate men and women to lead responsible and productive lives by means of a curriculum grounded in liberal arts learning and extended by professional and practical experiences.” Its most illustrious graduate, Jane Addams, is the inspiration for the College’s vision “to be the Jane Addams’ College of the 21st century.”
The Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program at Rockford College supports teachers in their efforts to enhance the achievement of students in kindergarten through grade 12 by incorporating primary sources into instruction using inquiry-based methods. The TPS program at Rockford College is conducted primarily through undergraduate and graduate classes that lead to teacher certification, including the student teaching semester. To expand the community of educators that use primary sources for inquiry-based learning experiences, TPS-Rockford College provides in-service workshops and graduate-level classes for K-12 educators in partner school districts. In addition, the TPS program at Rockford College provides professional development workshops to identify, encourage, and support college faculty as they prepare inquiry-based learning experiences using primary sources for targeted pre-service teacher preparation classes and TPS professional development opportunities for local K-12 educators.
Among TPS-Rockford College's offerings for pre-service teachers is Middle School Programs, an academic course which includes instruction about the benefits of using digitized primary sources from the Library of Congress Web site in middle school classrooms. Pre-service teachers work in interdisciplinary teams to complete an introductory mapping activity using an 1891 map of Rockford, Illinois, from the Library’s online collections. They then learn about various aspects of primary source instruction and how to navigate the Library of Congress Web site. The course’s culminating project requires them to develop a series of inquiry-based activities using primary sources to be included in each team’s interdisciplinary unit.