Educational Outreach

The Chicago Public School system is a culturally diverse urban school system, employing about 26,000 teachers (over 40%are from minority groups), and educating over 400,000 students in 491 elementary and 91 secondary schools. About 88% of the students are from low-income families, 52% have African ancestry, and about 35% have Latino backgrounds. About 17,000 CPS teachers regularly teach mathematics and science, often with minimal preparation. About one out of every 500 US citizens is a student in the CPS. Strong math and science classroom education are a key component for maintaining a democracy facing an increasingly technical future, and a good education is the ticket to economic success in America. Building on the widespread community support for improving public education in Chicago, members of the York group have been actively involved in improving the quality of mathematics and science education in the Chicago Public School system. Here are several projects that would not have happened without the contributions of York group members.

  • Chicago Public Schools/University of Chicago Internet Project (CUIP)

    Professor Don York is the Founder and co-Director of the Chicago Public Schools/University of Chicago Internet Project (CUIP). The project focuses on producing a sustainable internet culture in 29 public schools in the neighborhood of the University of Chicago. Our activities include infrastructure development, teacher training, system management and classroom integration of technology. We develop and operate a digital library for K-12 students (e-CUIP), an edited, standards-based list of internet references for teachers (websift) and a set of classroom instructional modules for teachers in Chicapo Public Schools based on the collections of Chicago museums (Chicago Web Docent, CWD).

  • Teacher's Academy for Math and Science

    The Teachers Academy for Math and Science (TAMS) was founded in 1990 by Priscilla Frisch and three other scientists with faculty ties to the University of Chicago (Footnote 1). These scientists volunteered their time to create and establish TAMS. The TAMS mission is to improve mathematics and science education in the classroom through improving content knowledge and instructional methods of teachers, and through actively engaging the support of the school community towards this goal. Teacher preparation and content knowledge are vital components of student achievement levels. The TAMS program engages teachers, parents, the school principal, and interested community members in a school-wide effort to upgrade the delivery of mathematics and science education in the classroom.

    TAMS programs have served over 114 elementary schools and 3,000 teachers to-date. Students in schools served by TAMS have demonstrated significant improvements in mathematics and science skills when compared to other schools statewide, and other CPS schools. Student achievement levels as measured by the Illinois Goal Assessment Program (IGAP) found that students enrolled in TAMS schools showed a significantly enhanced rate of improvement in their mathematics and science test scores when compared to statewide averages, so that the gap between the scores of these two groups of students is now decreasing. For example, during 1993 the TAMS and statewide math score averages differed by 51% (117 versus 268 for TAMS schools versus the statewide average), while during 1998 this same difference had been reduced to 28% (225 for TAMS, 287 statewide). The TAMS schools started at a lower initial level of achievement, but improved substantially more rapidly than other schools in the state.


    Footnote: 1. The other three scientists are Dr. Leon Lederman and Dr. Henry Frisch (particle physicists), and Dr. Gordon Berry (atomic physicist). An official portrait of these four founders was commissioned by the newly-established TAMS board.

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