ChiS&E works in partnership with Chicago Public Schools and currently focuses on the Chicago communities of North Lawndale, Little Village, Englewood, Bronzeville, and Woodlawn. The inaugural schools in the program were John J. Pershing East Magnet, Eli Whitney Elementary, Dvorak Technology Academy, Sir Miles Davis Magnet Academy, Wells Preparatory Elementary Academy, Spencer Elementary Math & Science Academy, and Woodlawn Elementary Community School. Today, ChiS&E serves parents and students in more than 50 Chicago Public Schools.
As co-learners with their children, parents are critical to the success of the program. Parents attend two orientation sessions to better understand their multi-year commitment to participate in the program. Parent training is designed to enhance their science and technology awareness alongside their children. Using digital technology, parents document their experiences and share them with students’ classrooms and with their families and communities. In addition, the family support team, made up of professionals from the fields of psychology, counseling, and social work, provide parent training and support.
ChiS&E teachers must be both certified and highly qualified, with a record of good attendance. Teachers must be creative, flexible, dedicated, highly motivated and able to demonstrate knowledge and application of best practices in teaching science to both children and adults.
The teacher training component prepares instructors to deliver quality program instruction. Teachers and administrators with experience in the DAPCEP program designed and implemented the initial ChiS&E teacher training in Chicago. Teachers participated in 90 hours of professional development during two summer sessions and two school years. They are trained on the program and activity-based focus, and on the specific activities for the fall and spring Saturday program. They continue to develop and refine the curriculum.