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STEM Announcement a ‘Tipping Point’ for Lake View High School

By Patty Wetli | Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lake View High School announced as STEM school. Credit: Mike Fourcher

It never hurts to have friends in high places, like Lake View High School’s new BFF, Microsoft.

Announced by CPS as one of five new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) schools, Lake View’s curriculum will now focus on preparing students for careers in information technology, offering them the opportunity to earn college credit, up to an associate’s degree. Each STEM school is paired with an IT giant; for its partner, Lake View snagged Microsoft, which will provide professional development for Lake View teachers, along with mentoring and internship opportunities for students.

The STEM curriculum will apply to all 2012-13 incoming freshmen. There’s no need to apply to the program; Lake View, located at 4015 N. Ashland, retains its standing as a neighborhood school.

Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), who made Lake View a priority of his Grow 47 education initiative, noted that all students, even those more interested in English than Calculus, will benefit from the STEM designation. “It will incorporate the arts as part of the curriculum,” he said. “It’s not that you won’t study music, you’ll study digital music.”

Pawar credited Aldermen Tom Tunney (44th) and Scott Waguespack (32nd) for “leading the charge to make Lake View a viable option for all our wards,” as well as Mayor Emanuel for being the “driver” behind teaming Lake View with Microsoft.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2010, there were 7.6 million STEM workers in the United States. By 2018, the number of STEM occupations are projected to grow 17 percent compared with 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations. The question is whether there will be enough qualified workers to meet the demand.

“It’s reverse engineering to make our graduates more competitive to fill those slots,” Pawar said of Microsoft’s involvement with Lake View.

As big a win as the STEM announcement is for the high school, Pawar also considers it a significant “tipping point” for the community.

“It creates another option for parents in the ward,” he said. “It will keep families in the city, it will keep families from moving out when their kids get to the third or fourth grade. For Lake View, this is huge; for our community, this is huge.”

To learn more about what STEM means for Lake View and prospective students, attend a community information session March 7, 6:30 p.m., at Lake View.

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