Chicago Public Schools Awarded $14M Magnet School Assistance Grant
13 April 2023
Federal grant promotes diversity, innovation and access to STEAM programs
CHICAGO – Two Chicago Public Schools (CPS) magnet schools have been awarded a five-year Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant to increase diversity and promote educational innovation. John J. Pershing Elementary Humanities Magnet and Maria Saucedo Elementary Scholastic Academy will transform into STEAM magnet schools, providing equitable access to high-quality STEM and Arts education.
“Every CPS student deserves to be able to access high-quality educational programs, no matter their race or their zip code,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “Our magnet schools, like our neighborhood schools, are a great option for students and families. Grants like MSAP help us continue to expand these opportunities to even more students and that is something to celebrate.”
The MSAP grant is designed to eliminate barriers and increase access to high-quality education for diverse students by building capacity and supporting innovative instructional programs at selected magnet schools. Pershing and Saucedo will each use the MSAP grant to develop innovative spaces, including a digital media lab, STEM lab and makerspace to serve as incubators in the integration of STEM concepts into all content areas and grade levels. Both CPS schools will also partner with high school and post-secondary, museums and industry partners to afford their students authentic, real-world learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom.
“We know that STEM education is particularly important for students of color and female identifying students who remain underrepresented in these fields despite their capabilities,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Bogdana Chkoumbova. “As a District, we are focused on connecting our students to STEAM opportunities and to the potential careers and educational opportunities that will be available to them through STEM and the Arts.”
This is the second MSAP grant awarded to CPS schools in the past five years. In 2017, CPS received nearly $15 million to transform three neighborhood schools into magnet STEM schools: William H. Brown Elementary School, Claremont Academy Elementary School, and Joseph Jungman Elementary School. All three schools implemented an innovative STEM curriculum while increasing enrollment and promoting student diversity, with Jungman reducing minority student isolation by 25 percent, Claremont by seven percent, and Brown by one percent. Each school also increased parent involvement at school events by 110 percent.
"We are thrilled to have been awarded the MSAP grant, as it provides a tremendous opportunity to elevate the educational experiences of our students,” said Saucedo Scholastic Academy principal Virginia Hiltz. “With the support of the MSAP grant, we are confident that we can create a learning environment that fosters curiosity, critical thinking, and a lifelong love of learning that prepares students for success in a rapidly changing world."