Schapiro, ETHS faculty laud partnership, ongoing collaborations


Nathan Richards/Daily Senior Staffer

University President Morton Schapiro speaks at the “Kits and Cats: Collaboration in the 21st Century” discussion Thursday evening. The talk, attended by many Evanston and Northwestern officials, highlighted growing cooperation between ETHS and the University.

Hal Jin, Reporter

University President Morton Schapiro and Evanston Township High School administrators celebrated Thursday the partnership between the University and ETHS, touting their educational programs and events.

“Kits and Cats: Collaboration in the 21st Century” took place at the James L. Allen Center, 2169 Campus Drive, with an audience of more than 50 ETHS and NU alumni, faculty and students. Evanston city officials and residents also attended.

Schapiro, ETHS Superintendent Eric Witherspoon and Northwestern/ETHS project coordinator Kristen Perkins discussed ongoing projects between the two schools.

Schapiro said Evanston’s blessings “all go out the window if you don’t have the right level of investment in the K-12 education system.”

“At the end of the day, you want to have a place where the kids can really thrive,” he said. ‘We have that, I’m proud that Northwestern plays a little role in that. It’s about the best investment you can make.”

The celebration builds on the Good Neighbor, Great University program, which encourages ETHS and Chicagoland-area schools to pursue college and provides them scholarships if they attend NU. The program formally launched in 2012, Perkins said.

Other university-high school partnerships only narrowly focus on an admissions pipeline, she said, whereas the NU-ETHS relationship promotes a collaborative sharing of resources and educational opportunities.

Last month, ETHS students had several opportunities to visit campus. NU hosted the biannual Kits and Cats day, where 100 high school sophomores and juniors visit NU, a business mentoring program with Kellogg School of Management students and a program designed to support young women pursuing STEM education.

Witherspoon said it was fortunate to have synergy between a nationally ranked high school and one of the best universities in the country.

Physics Prof. Vicky Kalogera, director at the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics, is a leader in the partnership’s Reach for the Stars program.

Reach for the Stars pairs NU graduate fellows with teachers at ETHS for a year. The graduate students introduce presentations, homework or long term projects to connect their research to the classroom.

ETHS students benefit by meeting scientists and learning about graduate research. Graduate students learn from experienced teachers how to simplify complicated problems into terms high school students can understand, said Kalogera, who attended Thursday’s event.

The graduate student and teacher will together develop material that can be used at ETHS in future years, she said, noting the initiative has impacted 1000 students at ETHS

Bethany Hubbard, who works in NU’s Science in Society office, also tries to promote STEM education in the Evanston community. She is currently working on an initiative to bring NU graduate researchers to ETHS in order to assist with a fledging class where students alternate between biology and art, she said.

Science in Society, an NU office promoting scientific outreach and public engagement, has hosted similar initiatives with ETHS students in the past. ETHS students also participated in collecting environmental samples to image under a microscope, similar to the annual Scientific Images Contest, which celebrates the artistic beauty of scientific data.

According to Schapiro, 44 ETHS alumni are currently enrolled as undergraduates and 14 of them freshman.

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