Evanston Township High School, NU team up for learning project
Updated: June 6, 2012 4:18PM
A new full-time position based at Evanston Township High School and funded by Northwestern University aims to formalize and strengthen the relationship between the university and the high school, according to a news release from Northwestern.
The initiative is part of Northwestern President Morton Schapiro’s Good Neighbor, Great University Initiative.
In September, Kristen Perkins, who works in Northwestern’s office of science, technology, engineering and math education partnerships, will coordinate the Northwestern/ETHS partnership. The new position is designed to increase the collaboration between Northwestern and the high school and enhance ETHS learning opportunities, the release said.
“Kristen will pair the creative and intellectual resources of Northwestern with the interests and needs of the high school’s impassioned teachers and students, creating mutually beneficial connections in everything from science to the arts,” Schapiro said in the release.
Whether arranging field trips for ETHS students to Northwestern’s science laboratories or tours of the backstage workings of the university’s theater offerings, the Northwestern/ETHS partnership coordinator will facilitate connections, the release said.
Perkins also will support the high school’s teachers in science, mathematics and career and technology education that pique the interests of ETHS students in science and technology subjects.
“Kristen will have the time to help busy teachers look ahead at their curricula and find exciting, interactive activities that enhance their students’ science and math understanding,” said Kemi Jona, director of the university’s office of STEM education partnerships, according to the release. Jona also is research professor in Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy.
“The Northwestern and ETHS partnership will provide our high school students with cutting-edge learning experiences in academics, research and career exploration,” said Evanston Township High School Superintendent Eric Witherspoon, in the release. “Combining our resources, we’ll be able to accelerate programming and advanced learning and offer STEM opportunities rarely available to high school students anywhere.”
Improving STEM education and attracting more students to technical fields have become integral to local, state and national efforts in preparing young people for the 21st-century work force. STEM encompasses a range of fields including the sciences, mathematics, engineering and computational thinking as well as design, manufacturing and robotics.
The new position ”represents a powerful way for Northwestern to partner with ETHS to promote the concept of STEM learning for every student and improve STEM-related instruction,” said Shelley Gates, ETHS chair of career and technical education, in the release.
The position will expand student educational opportunities and support the school’s goal of producing STEM literate graduates, added Peter Bavis, ETHS associate principal of teaching and learning, according to the release.
STEM-related efforts are under way already between Northwestern and ETHS, the release said. For example, YouSTEM, a new after-school program at the high school, aims to attract girls, minorities and students to study science, engineering and math.
YouSTEM is made possible through a MacArthur Foundation grant to Northwestern.