The Chicago Public Schools Career and Technical Education (CTE) division acted on a request by the Chicago Mayor’s office to establish five new Early College STEM Schools, one in each school district. To begin, CTE approached Jobs for the Future, who offered deep expertise in setting up Early College high schools. They decided to emulate New York City’s “Pathways in Technology Early College High School” model, emphasizing the Technology aspect of STEM. The Early College schools gave CTE the opportunity to define and implement a pathway though the City Colleges of Chicago. With the above in place, BATEC added experience in articulation and expertise in computing.
BATEC worked with CTE and its partners on the “behemoth job” of developing focus areas in Networking, Computer Science, and Oracle. BATEC facilitated industry conversations, looking at identifying industry priorities in curriculum and helped determine a course progression for each, mapping the tracks to college pathways at City Colleges. Students start these tracks their junior year.
The schools opened in Fall of 2012. Freshman took Exploring Computer Science as their ninth grade computing course. The same professional development facilitated by BATEC that enabled City Colleges faculty to teach IT Problem Solving at the two year level enabled those same faculty to offer IT Problem Solving for tenth grade Early College students. Both CTE and City Colleges love IT Problem Solving because it’s a college level course, conferring college credit.
At the end of their experience, students will accrue one to two semesters of City Colleges credits by high school graduation. Ideally, students begin college experience in the high school and finish it at City College. Enrollment at the five schools for 2013-2014 totals over 2,600 students between the freshman and sophomore classes at the five Early College STEM High Schools.
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- BATEC facilitated industry conversations, looking at identifying industry priorities in curriculum
- BATEC helped determine a course progression for each tracks, mapped to college pathways at City Colleges
- City College faculty alums of BATEC facilitated IT Problem Solving professional development teach in the Early College schools