For Immediate Release:
Friday, January 27, 2017
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has announced the launch of Chicago’s BEST (Bringing Experts to STEM Teaching), a partnership between CPS, the University of Illinois-Chicago, National Louis University, and Chicago’s corporate community to recruit and train experienced professionals in STEM fields to become teachers in CPS schools. The program will allow STEM professionals seeking a career transition to bring their expertise to schools throughout Chicago to help show students the power of a high-quality STEM education.
CPS is working with the Chicago corporate community to identify opportunities for partners to join this one-of-a-kind initiative. To kick off this effort, Baxter International Inc. and Accenture have agreed to join Chicago’s BEST and will be instrumental in helping transition STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professionals into teaching roles in District-run schools.
“Teachers with professional experience in the STEM fields are in a unique position to connect with students and demonstrate the real-world applications of their studies,” said Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “By developing a pathway to bring experienced STEM professionals into the schools that need them most, we hope to provide our students with a new set of role models and mentors who can highlight the value and opportunity that the STEM fields have to offer.”
The Chicago’s BEST program is the first comprehensive effort by a large urban school district to develop a pipeline of STEM teachers in coordination with corporate and higher education partners. This effort will work to address a national need for STEM educators in schools and bring qualified teachers to the school communities in CPS that need them most.
STEM professionals at partner corporations who are seeking to transition into teaching will initially consult with their company to discuss potential options. Once an employee informs the company of their interest – either through retirement or a transition – the company will interview the employee and send successful candidates to CPS, which will vet each candidate’s education and experience. CPS will then refer all qualified candidates to an advisor at a higher education partner to help determine if the candidate is a good match for a full teaching certification or a certification in Career and Technical Education (CTE).
To join the traditional teaching track for high school math, science, or traditional computer science, employees must possess the post-secondary hours required for state licensure. To help candidates attain the instruction needed to serve as successful teachers, each corporate partner is committing to provide a $15,000 grant to National Louis University to put the student through a teacher licensure program.
For CTE, candidates would follow a similar path, but since teaching licensure is not a requirement, candidates will have to demonstrate that they have 4,000 hours of industry experience and will have to earn a provisional license from the state. Candidates selected for service in CTE courses will help support the more than 17,600 students participating in industry-focused technical education programs throughout the District.
Candidates selected for the Chicago’s BEST program will receive an early offer letter from CPS and commit to teaching in the District for three years, expanding the District’s capacity to provide all students with a high-quality STEM education.
The launch of the Chicago’s BEST program is part of the District’s effort to bolster STEM education throughout the city. Under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CPS and the City of Chicago have created the Early College STEM program at five neighborhood high schools, launched the K-12 Computer Science 4 All initiative, established the first computer science graduation requirement at a large urban school district, and continued to expand access to high quality instruction through Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Dual Credit and Dual Enrollment, and STEM coursework and programs.
Chicago Public Schools serves 381,000 students in 652 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.