FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CITIZEN SCHOOLS AND PROJECT EXPLORATION TEAM UP WITH BUSINESS COMMUNITY TO ENGAGE CHICAGO STUDENTS IN SCIENCE
President Clinton Announces Commitment to Bring 1,000 STEM Professionals into the Classroom at Clinton Global Initiative’s “CGI America” Event
Chicago, IL – June 9, 2012 – Last night, President Clinton announced, at CGI America, a nationwide gathering hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative, that Citizen Schools, one of the nation’s leading education organizations partnering with low-income middle schools to extend the learning day with innovative academic and apprenticeship programs, has made a commitment to work in partnership with leading companies, such as Google, Fidelity Investments, Cognizant, Cisco, AOL, and Project Exploration, a Chicago science education nonprofit organization, to mobilize 1,000 volunteers to help teach Chicago students over the next five years.
Citizen Schools and Project Exploration will recruit and train 1,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professionals to share their expertise with Chicago youth. This is part of Citizen Schools’ commitment to recruit and train 15,000 volunteers, including 5,000 STEM professionals, to teach students across the country over the next three years. These volunteers – Citizen Schools calls them “Citizen Teachers” – will teach “apprenticeship” courses to small groups of low-income middle school students once a week for ten weeks. In these apprenticeships, volunteers work with students one afternoon a week to teach them about a wide variety of topics and professions from robotics to architecture.
Since 1995, Citizen Schools has recruited and trained tens of thousands of volunteers from local and national companies to teach students in seven states. This fall, the organization will launch programs in Illinois and introduce the program to middle school students in Chicago. Citizen Schools will work with Project Exploration to actively recruit and prepare Chicago-area scientists and engineers to work with Chicago students in classrooms citing both programs’ long-term impact on participating youth as a motivating factor for companies.
In partnership with companies and civic organizations, Citizen Schools brings real world experts into schools and expand the learning day by 400 hours a year for each student, setting hundreds of students on pathways to high school, college, and career success. Volunteers help students make the connection between math and architecture, engineering or business. They help students see how science connects to animals, plants and gardening.
National external evaluations have shown that Citizen Schools students attend more school, get better grades, perform better on standardized tests, and graduate from high school at higher rates than their peers who did not participate in Citizen Schools.
“This initiative will bring corporate and civic volunteers into schools to make learning relevant and close the achievement and opportunity gap for students in high-need middle schools,” said Bryce Bowman, Executive Director of Citizen Schools Illinois. “We are grateful for the commitment of companies such as Google and Fidelity Investments and look forward to engaging even more companies in order for us to prove that every child in our nation's schools can achieve their dreams."
Chicago-based Project Exploration is a nationally-recognized organization that provides students typically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines – particularly girls and students of color – with extended opportunities to do science side-by-side with scientists who act as teachers, mentors, and role-models. Project Exploration’s highly-personalized approach fosters long-term involvement in science through hands-on programming, authentic fieldwork and lab work, leadership development, and meaningful relationships with scientists.
Since 1999, Project Exploration has achieved significant outcomes for the students it has served in Chicago in its after school and summer programs: • 95 percent of participants graduate from high school. • 60 percent of high school graduates go on to pursue STEM degrees from a four-year institution. • 60% of students who graduated college graduated with a degree in a STEM-related field.
“The strategic partnership between Citizen Schools and Project Exploration will enable more Chicago young people to be able to experience curiosity and discovery alongside scientists. We know from thirteen years of work that these relationships make all the difference in the world to how young people learn,” said Paige Ponder, Chief Executive Officers of Project Exploration. “We’re thrilled have Citizen Schools as an ally in the critical work of ensuring underserved populations have access to life-changing experiences with science and discovery.”
About Citizen Schools
Citizen Schools is a leading national education initiative that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities across the country through afterschool and expanded learning time programs. The organization mobilizes a second shift of afternoon educators, who provide academic support, leadership development, and "apprenticeships"—hands-on projects taught by volunteers from business and civic organizations. At over thirty middle schools in eight states, Citizen Schools students develop the skills they need to succeed in high school, college, the workforce, and civic life.
Learn more about Citizen Schools’ programs, results and how to get involved at www.citizenschools.org.
About Project Exploration
Project Exploration is a nonprofit science education organization that works to ensure communities traditionally overlooked by science- particularly minority youth and girls – have access to personalized experiences with science and scientists. In 2009 Project Exploration received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, and last year was given an Excellence in Summer Learning Award by the National Summer Learning Association.
More information about Project Exploration’s model, programs or impact and to learn about how to get involved, is available at www.projectexploration.org.
# # #