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Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today a city-wide strategy to increase Chicago students’ access to high-quality STEM learning experiences from early childhood through college and career. The city-wide strategy will strategically bring together and direct educational, corporate, and philanthropic resources toward the shared goal of increasing STEM opportunities for Chicago students. With the support of multiple sectors, the strategy seeks to triple the number of Chicago students earning STEM credentials by 2018.
“By increasing access to a high-quality STEM education, we are providing our children with the tools they need to get a solid footing on the economic ladder, innovate new technology, and make new scientific breakthroughs that will define the future of our City,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Our goal as a City is for every child to be 100% college ready and 100% college bound, so that we prepare our children with the academic foundation and skills to be the next leaders in the 21st century highly-specialized, technical economy.”
As the first part in this STEM expansion, the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) has committed to train 1,000 STEM teachers over the next five years. MSI set a goal that two-thirds of these participating teachers would be from CPS schools.
“I would like to thank the Museum of Science and Industry for partnering with the City as we expand access to STEM education for Chicago’s teachers and students,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Partnerships like this reflect the numerous opportunities available to help support our teachers while creating a cradle-to-career STEM road map for students by leveraging our City’s world-class, civically-engaged cultural institutions, businesses, universities, and non-profits.”
The Museum offers courses at no cost and will pay for substitute teachers for sessions held on school days. Based on STEM education best practices, MSI’s professional development courses provide teachers with background and skills to lead interactive lesson plans while also providing student worksheets, discussion forums, and kits of materials to conduct classroom science activities for all students.
“Science can be complex, challenging and oftentimes intimidating for students, parents, and teachers,” said Museum of Science and Industry President David Mosena. “It is critical during the middle years of schooling to make science more engaging through hands-on, inquiry-based teaching to foster a strong interest in science. As champions of science and learning, we are using our content expertise, proven teaching strategies and world-class exhibits to improve science education in schools.”
MSI’s partnership with the City is part of a larger strategy to leverage the expertise, talent and resources of the City’s cultural institutions, colleges and universities, businesses and non-profits.
The strategy outlines three key priority areas for external stakeholders to intervene and improve when participating in the City’s STEM strategy:
Over 150 local experts helped develop the strategy and will continue to be engaged throughout its implementation. Organizations participating in the development of the plan include over fifteen local colleges and universities, over twenty non-profit youth-serving organizations, museums and cultural institutions and several foundations and workforce development partners.
This City-wide strategy intends to direct resources to the most strategic interventions and to build upon and provide additional support for existing City, CPS, and CCC programs including:
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