Thanks to a grant from US2020, CPS will be able to heighten its focus on STEM, helping the District better prepare students for the careers of tomorrow.
Composed of education nonprofits and corporate leaders, all of them experts in STEM, US2020 strives to create life changing moments of discovery for children. Their goal is to mobilize one million STEM mentors annually by the year 2020 – professionals who can inspire students to explore the fields of science and technology. CPS was one of seven school districts to win the US2020 competition, which challenged cities nationwide to develop innovative models that will increase enthusiasm around STEM.
“This grant will help support our efforts to provide access to a quality STEM education that will prepare our children to excel in the classroom and in life,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “Chicago is a national leader in creating STEM educational pathways for our students starting in elementary school that will provide them a rigorous education that aligns with the jobs of the future.”
The grant, which was announced during the White House Science Fair, will provide the selected school districts with a shared $1 million to further their STEM goals. For CPS, this will mean expanding STEM opportunities for under-represented youth (women, minorities, and students from low-income households) and coordinating and tracking all STEM-related mentoring opportunities throughout the city. Additionally, the District will work to identify which STEM mentorship experiences have the greatest impact on students choosing to pursue STEM majors in college and STEM-related careers.
The latest in a citywide STEM strategy, the grant from US2020 will build on the success of CPS’s five Early College STEM Schools, as well as Chicago’s City of Learning and the most comprehensive K-12 computer science education plan of any major school district in the nation.
“A high-quality STEM education opens the door of opportunity for our students to explore new interests, build new technology, and discover scientific breakthroughs that will define the future of our city,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Our goal as a city is for every child to be 100 percent college ready and 100 percent college bound, and this grant is part of our larger efforts to prepare our children to be the next leaders in the 21st Century’s highly specialized, technical economy.”