Summer Programs


The opportunity to explore another country can be life changing.  That is the reason why Galapagos Rockford sends up to ten scholars a year to spend a week in Costa Rica.  Our scholars get the chance to travel the Costa Rican countryside, explore fruit stands offering exotic fruits, visit an internationally renowned university, and that’s just the first day!  Scholars sleep in the rainforest, work with biologists to create habitats for local wildlife, and  discover the sights and sounds of the forest at night.  For the last couple of years, we have visited a local school where Costa Rican students walk nearly an hour and a half to get to class.  Our adventures have even taken us to the far reaches of the indigenous Bri-Bri community bordering Panama.  It’s an opportunity that is earned by our scholars and requires a lot of hard work but in the end it’s pura vida.

Galapagos is the only school in Rockford that offers this opportunity.



A right of passage for many American students, trips to Washington D.C. can be out of financial reach for many others.  Thanks to generous private donations, Galapagos Rockford has been able to help assist over one hundred and twenty eighth graders on this trip to our nation’s capitol.  Scholars reinforce their knowledge of American history as they visit the Lincoln, WWII and Vietnam memorials among many others.  Over the years, scholars have gone to Arlington Cemetery, the Bureau of Engraving, Ford’s Theater, Congress and the Holocaust Museum.  Along the way, scholars have run into President Obama’s motorcade, the Dali Lama and Vice President Pence.

Galapagos is the only public, middle school in Rockford that offers this opportunity.


Galapagos Rockford Charter School has partnered with Northwestern University for the last ten years.  Since 2009, Galapagos has sent scholars to Northwestern’s Gifted and Talented program to  spend up to three weeks on the Northwestern campus.  During this time, scholars live in NU dorms, eat in college cafeterias and take classes on the NU campus.  Classes are high interest, rigorous programs that range from coding, to Shakespeare to forensics among many others.  Scholars are not only exposed to engaging academics but they also have the opportunity to meet and share the experience with children from around the world.  Over one hundred Galapagos scholars have had the opportunity to participate in the Northwestern program.  The majority of our scholars receive scholarship support that, since the inception of our partnership, has exceeded $180,000.  Many scholars have returned to Northwestern for a second or even third year, including some of our alumni.

Galapagos is the only school in Rockford that offers this opportunity.


Galapagos is excited to have grown it’s partnership with Northern Illinois University from one scholar participating to twelve in one year.  Galapagos scholars spend a week at Northern Illinois University working on a variety of science and technology based projects. Scholars learn physics through rocketry and help design robots that can traverse water.  Along the way, scholars get their first taste of college by living on campus and meeting children from throughout the Midwest.

Galapagos is the only school in Rockford that offers this opportunity.


The Model United Nations program is a rigorous program that allows scholars to explore the same topics debated by the nations of the world.  Galapagos scholars develop skills such as research, debate, negotiation and public speaking as they advocate for topics related to nuclear disarmament, human rights and environmental standards.  Through this program, Galapagos scholars have spent part of the summer training at Harvard University and will compete in United Nation simulations in Tennessee and Ohio.  Just recently, our group had the pleasure of meeting an actual Foreign Service Officer from The U.S. State Department. 

Yep, you guessed it, Galapagos is the only school in Rockford that offers this opportunity.

We are excited to announce a great opportunity for Galapagos alum entering their Junior or Senior years in 2021. For the second year in a row, the Project Passport Program at Galapagos will bring three GRCS alum to Africa. This trip combines learning about African culture with a leadership retreat. Alum will get the chance to visit Uganda and Rwanda, meet and work with Africans their own age and visit locations that will expand their horizons. Interested scholars should contact Mr. Lane at by December 1, 2021. The trip will take place in June 2022 and will require some pre-work and fundraising. This amazing program sends Galapagos alumni to Uganda and Rwanda.  Scholars will travel with students from other parts of the United States to a youth summit with high school students from a variety of African countries.  Students will work together at the summit in Uganda while also having time to explore the region.  Scholars will visit an African market place, meet with village elders and spend time on a safari.  Finally, scholars will visit neighboring Rwanda to learn about the genocide that enveloped that nation in the 1990’s while discovering how the nation undertook one of the more successful reconciliations displayed by humanity in the 2000’s.

Ahh, yeah, we are the only ones who do this as well.

Take a look at the agenda below for all the exciting activities involved in this program.

2019 Africa Youth Summit Itinerary



Galapagos has partnered with the Burpee Museum to provide some of our youngest scholars with the opportunity to explore a wide variety of science topics.  In 2019, 1rst-4th grade scholars participated in programs exploring mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians.  Scholars spent either a full day or a half day exploring the Burpee Museum while engaging in a week of activities.

The Great Books program is hosted by Haverford College just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Great Books provides scholars an opportunity to dive into the literary work of authors such as: Ovid, Virginia Woolf, Octavia Butler, Shakespeare, and W.E.B. Du Bois.  These writers provide the foundation for scholars to explore questions that have riddled humankind for millennia.   Scholars learn to vigorously discuss and analyze a variety of topics and philosophies.   Throughout this week long program, scholars interact and learn alongside scholars from around the world. While not engaging in debate and higher level thinking, scholars are able to enjoy a variety of “camp” activities such as swimming, outdoor activities and team building.   Before scholars say good-bye to their newly discovered intellectual paradise scholars will explore the historic sights of Philadelphia including the Liberty Bell.