CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced today that its proposal to convert Dunne Technology Academy into a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) school has been approved by the Board of Education at its monthly Board Meeting. Dunne, a K-8 Level 1 school on the Far South Side, is undergoing an $11 million modernization project, which will allow the school to smoothly transition to a full STEM school beginning in School Year 2015-2016 (SY 15-16). The conversion of Dunne is part of CPS’s effort to strengthen neighborhood schools through the expansion of seats in STEM, International Baccalaureate (IB) and other high-performing programs across the city.
“Our top priority at CPS is ensuring every student in Chicago receives the high-quality education they need to succeed in tomorrow’s economy,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “The conversion of Dunne into a STEM school will bring new, high-quality neighborhood option to families on the Far South Side and prepare our students for a bright future.”
In July 2014, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett announced the $11 million modernization project to prepare Dunne to adopt the STEM school model. Construction is underway on a new multipurpose facility equipped with two lab spaces to support a 21stCentury STEM school model, as well as a new gymnasium and a direct interior link to the adjacent existing building, among other improvements. Of the total $11 million project, $7 million was allocated by the District in its FY15 Capital Plan, and the additional $4 million was secured by State Senator Emil Jones, 14th District and State Representative Bob Rita, 28th District.
Beginning in SY 15-16, Dunne will become a STEM school under the three-year STEM incubation process. Since 2008, Dunne has been one of five CPS neighborhood schools to offer a technology magnet program, but the conversion to a full STEM model will take Dunne beyond a focus on technology alone to an integrated curriculum of science, technology, engineering and math. Dunne will become CPS’s 12th STEM Initiative elementary school.
CPS is making a concerted effort to expand access to STEM schools, because these programs have been shown to be an effective pathway to prepare students for college, career and life. By 2018, one in five jobs in Cook County, IL, is expected to be in a STEM field, and CPS is committed to providing our students with access to a high-quality education that will prepare our students for success in these fields.
To facilitate the change in educational focus at Dunne, CPS is providing a number of programmatic supports to Dunne, as it has done at all STEM schools, to ensure a smooth transition for students and staff. Each STEM school receives a certified math or science teacher to serve as a STEM Specialist to support teachers in implementing STEM, as well as a Technology Specialist to help integrate technology into the classroom. CPS also provides professional development for the school’s teaching staff to assist with problem-based learning, cooperative learning and technology integration.
The conversion of Dunne to a STEM school is part of a larger initiative by Mayor Emanuel and CPS to expand high-quality education options to students in all parts of Chicago. Since 2011, CPS has added an additional 5,886 seats in STEM Initiative elementary schools and an additional 1,872 seats in Early College STEM high schools. This is in addition to the 11,953 IB seats and 2,268 Selective Enrollment seats that have been approved since 2011 in schools throughout the city.
Chicago Public Schools serves 396,000 students in 664 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school district.