Thanks to New State Money, CPS Invests in Neighborhood STEM, IB and Arts Programs

Today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced CPS will invest $32 million into STEM, IB, arts and other specialty programming for 32 schools, 22 of which are neighborhood elementary schools. Of the neighborhood elementary schools, one is located in East Garfield Park and 13 are located on the South (6) and Southwest (7) sides. The new money for these programs comes from increased state funding.

Cuffe Elementary in Auburn-Gresham was among the winners of a six-year grant to support STEM programming. (Individual awards to schools were not disclosed in today’s press materials.)  Cuffe already offers substantive math and science experiences for its students and features its science and computer science labs. Phil Rosario, an eighth-grader, raved about his experience learning to program a drone-like robot and create his own video game, a flight simulator. “We pick it up like that!” he said, snapping his fingers.

Rosario is hoping to get into Chicago Military Academy-Bronzeville, one of seven high schools awarded grants today. If so, he may be able to take part in the Early College STEM programming the school plans to launch with its grant.

The grants were awarded through a competitive application process that CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade says will be an annual opportunity for schools. The application process relied in part on the new Annual Regional Analysis to determine the kinds of academic programs missing or needing strengthening in neighborhoods. One of the winners, Michelle Clark Magnet High, worked closely with Kids First Chicago, the organization that helped CPS design the first and second editions of the report. In a press release from Kids First Chicago, Clark Principal Charles Anderson thanked the organization for “data expertise, community advocacy coordination and ongoing technical support.”

“Leveraging the data in the ARA to bring an IB program to the underserved West Side is exactly what we mean when we talk about expanding equity within the system,” said Kids First Chicago CEO Daniel Anello.





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Maureen Kelleher

Chicago Unheard blog manager Maureen Kelleher also serves as a senior writer and editor at brightbeam, a nonprofit network of education activists demanding a better education and brighter future for every child. Before joining the brightbeam team, she spent a decade as a reporter, blogger and policy analyst. Her work has been published across the education world, from Education Week to the Center for American Progress. A former high school English teacher, she is also the proud mom of a middle-schooler. Find her on Twitter at @KelleherMaureen.

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