FORGE at Palmer Elementary

What is FORGE?


Forging Opportunities Rooted in Growth and Engagement is an out-of-school-time program offered by the local nonprofit North River Commission in collaboration with Palmer Elementary. FORGE is free to all registered students and their parents/guardians/caregivers. FORGE provides all programming and materials free to its participants. FORGE is funded by the North River Commission (NRC), including a grant from Illinois State Board of Education Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC).

Stef Coleman: Palmer School Site Coordinator

Stef Coleman has lived on three continents, has two pets, raises one reader, and lives surrounded by books in Albany Park. She brings a decade of non-profit experience to her role as the Palmer Site Coordinator for FORGE and is excited to see how the community center will have a transformative impact on countless lives. She and her husband are deeply involved in the Palmer Elementary community, serving on its Local School Council, Parent Advisory Council, and Friends of Palmer groups.
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Jennifer Dixon: Palmer Elementary School Principal

The FORGE program is an incredibly special opportunity for Palmer Elementary School!  We are thrilled to be able to offer our students programs that enrich their educational experience. Programs students participate in through the FORGE program address the needs of the whole child, including developing their ability to express themselves creatively, engage in physical activity, and reinforce the advancement of educational concepts learned during the school day. For so many of our students, the opportunity provided to them through FORGE will truly make a difference in their overall academic and social development. Beyond these essential benefits, participation in FORGE offers parents a supervised and safe learning activity for their children after school hours have ended. A big thank you goes out to the North River Commission and Stef Coleman, our program coordinator for ensuring our students have access to this valuable programming. As a principal, it means the world to me and I know our community feels the same!

Janet Ruff: Palmer Teacher Liason 

Hello, I am Janet Ruff and teach science and social studies at Palmer Elementary School. I like teaching FORGE Program classes because of the students! In the classes, the students and I get a chance to know each other better in a less formal learning environment. Together we learn and problem solve real issues that are important to us. Students enrolling in the FORGE Program will have an opportunity to engage in classes that spark their passions and interests in a fun way!

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Ms. Jarr: Palmer Teacher Liason

My name is Mrs. Jarr and I am a Teacher Assistant at Palmer School. We are so excited to have the Forge program again this year at Palmer! The Forge program offers our students a variety of clubs and activities that meet before and after school. These programs provide opportunities for our students to get together with friends, build leadership skills, learn new things, and grow emotionally and socially. This year’s program will begin very soon, and we are looking forward to another year of fun! Be sure to check out this year’s exciting activities!

Additional FORGE Staff:

Maddie Polovick, FORGE Program Director

Marilyn Carteño, FORGE Parent and Family Programs Manager



Spring 2022 Registration Form

Coming soon! 🙂 Check back in a few weeks!

Program Descriptions

Fall 2021

Program preview for Spring '22 coming soon!



Parent and Student Handbook SY Fall 2021-Spring 2022


Forge ESL Classes

FORGE Program Partners At Palmer

FORGE Partnerships