Chicago’s STEM High Schools are a National Model in Providing Students Accelerated Pathways to College and a Career
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today toured the Michele Clark Academic Preparatory High School on Chicago’s West Side. Michele Clark is one of Chicago’s five Early College Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Schools, which leverage public private partnerships and community college classes to provide students with rigorous learning opportunities and accelerated pathways to college and a career.
“I am proud to show Secretary Jewell that here at Michele Clark in South Austin students are studying STEM subjects in state-of-the-art labs, can take classes at their local community college, and have access to mentors, internships and first shot at a job at successful, high-tech companies,” said Mayor Emanuel. “In Chicago, Early College STEM schools are another high quality option available to parents to ensure their children are receiving the necessary education foundation to go to college and the skills to succeed in this highly-specialized, 21st century economy.”
All five of Chicago’s STEM high schools are equipped with state of the art labs and facilities have 1GB Internet connections in alignment with President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative to connect students to next-generation broadband in schools and libraries.
As part of the Obama administration’s commitment to inspire and employ the next generation, Secretary Jewell last year launched an ambitious initiative to engage the next generation to play, learn, serve and work on America’s public lands. At the school visit, Secretary Jewell discussed the need for STEM education to prepare candidates to work in jobs such as those at the Department of the Interior and its bureaus.
“Nearly one-third of Interior’s more than 70,000 employees will be eligible to retire within five years. We need to engage and inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists, wildlife biologists, park rangers, and other professionals who will care for our lands and waters,” said Secretary Jewell. “What is happening in classrooms here in Chicago is a perfect example of the public and private sectors working together through innovative partnerships to help ensure that the next generation has the tools and resources they need to be prepared for college and to succeed in the global workforce.”
Mayor Emanuel and Secretary Jewell were joined at Michele Clark by Jerry Rocco of Cisco, the industry partner of Michele Clark High School’s Early College STEM School Program. Each of the Early College STEM schools has been paired with a corporate partner that provides mentors, internships, and feedback on the curriculum to teach skills that would be valuable at their company. The other four corporate partners include IBM, Microsoft, Motorola Solutions, and Verizon Wireless.
At Michele Clark, Cisco also added a new STEM Lab and a Cisco Network Academy, which teaches students the skills needed to build, design, and maintain, networks, improving their career prospects while filling the global demand for networking professionals. The new Cisco Networking Academy is one of 10,000 academies in 165 countries that prepare students for industry-recognized certifications and entry-level information and communication technology (ICT) careers.
Of the five Early College STEM Schools, Michelle Clark had the highest growth in Freshman On Track rate from the 2011-12 school year to the 2012-13 school year. Principal Beulah McLoyd also qualified for principal performance pay this year for an increase in student achievement.
Also during their visit to Michele Clark High School, Mayor Emanuel and Secretary Jewell had the opportunity to sit in on a 9th Grade class called “Fundamentals of IT.” The class allows the students to engage in project-based learning and develop problem-solving skills relevant to web-design, networking, programing, and coding.
Students at Michele Clark High School also demonstrated projects varying from working submarines requiring the application of mathematical and scientific concepts learned in their classes to work they have done with the NEIU Vex robotic program.
Photo Caption: Mayor Emanuel and Secretary Jewell visit Chicago STEM school
Photo Credit: Brooke Collins // City of Chicago