School News



SESP Welcomes New Teacher in Residence

Martha Mulligan
By having a Teacher in Residence at SESP, researchers can draw on the experience of a classroom emissary, and schools can draw on SESP’s current research. The Teacher in Residence for 2009–10 is Martha Mulligan, a mathematics teacher at Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago.

Because Mulligan has experience with teacher mentoring, one project she will work on is facilitating video analysis for teachers. “Video analysis is an important tool in teaching because teachers have the opportunity to think more deeply about the interactions in their classrooms,” says Mulligan, who says that teachers learn to add to their repertory of responses and hone in better on student thinking. “I hope to … use the results of the research to help other teachers and students.”


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New Space Science Curriculum Will Use NASA Data

High school scientists and teachers in the Meaningful Science Consortium participate in a project showcase at Northwestern
High school scientists and teachers in the Meaningful Science Consortium participate in a project showcase at Northwestern.
PHOTO BY ANDREW CAMPBELL


Soon scientists at the School of Education and Social Policy will be helping Chicago high school students to do research with actual data from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) satellites.

In a new $1.4 million project funded by NASA, the Meaningful Science Consortium at SESP will be creating the curriculum for a capstone science course featuring hands-on research with NASA information. The Consortium partners with nine Chicago Public Schools high schools in an effort to improve science instruction, increase students’ achievement in science and prepare students for college-level science.

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Global Scholar Meixi Ng Pilots International Practicum


International human rights is a passion for junior Meixi Ng, and this year she will extend her work through an overseas practicum

International human rights is a passion for junior Meixi Ng, and this year she will extend her work through an overseas practicum. All SESP students increase their learning through a 10-week hands-on practicum at a nonprofit or business, and Ng will be the first to complete a practicum internationally. She will work in Thailand with the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking.

Ng is a co-founder of The Amber Initiative, a youth-led organization dedicated to fight human trafficking around the world. She was also involved in building a youth hostel in Thailand to provide secondary education to Lahu hill tribe youth. At Northwestern, Ng has co-founded the Northwestern Engagement Coalition, the International Students Association and the Northwestern World Cup.

She is also one of 16 U.S. students chosen for the international Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Program, which provides leadership development to academically excellent students with outstanding leadership potential. Ng says of Global Leaders, “It sounded like an incredible program and network that I could be a part of, and would further the work that I really wanted to dedicate my life to — tackling issues of human rights.”

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Michelle Obama Champions Work of ABCD Institute


Michelle Obama One of the faculty members at SESP’s Asset-Based Community Institute became very famous in the past year — First Lady Michelle Obama, who has been on the ABCD faculty since 1994. ABCD does research to improve communities by drawing on local assets, and Obama worked with Public Allies, an ABCD partner organization that develops new community leadership.

She discussed the importance of ABCD’s approach to community development in a June 16 speech in Washington, D.C. “My time at Public Allies also gave me the opportunity to work with John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann, who developed the Asset-Based Community Development approach to neighborhood development, and that really influenced how we worked with communities,” she said. “Communities are filled with assets that we need to better recognize and mobilize if we're really going to make a difference.”


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Teacher Leader Certification Program in Science Starts

Starting this fall, SESP will offer a program for endorsement as a teacher leader. The first phase, developed in collaboration with four Chicago science museums and Chicago Public Schools, will prepare teachers for leading K–3 science teaching.

A two-year sequence of coursework is being offered to teachers from 10 Chicago elementary schools as preparation for a Teacher Leader Endorsement in Elementary Science. The initiative is related to Illinois’s new endorsement in teacher leadership, which allows teachers to qualify themselves for leadership positions within a school organization such as department chair or curriculum director.

“The program will support the Chicago Public Schools’ hands-on curriculum in science,” explains research associate professor Steven McGee, director of the Early Elementary Science Partnership project at SESP. “The professional development will not only increase content understanding but will also show the connections between the science content and exhibits at four Chicago science museums.”

SESP is a partner with the Field Museum, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago Children’s Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo and the Chicago Public Schools in this project, which is supported by a grant from the Chicago Community Trust.

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SESP Is Growing!

SESP is growing

“The small school that thinks big” is having a big year. Enrollment is growing at a record pace, mainly because of incoming students transferring from other schools at Northwestern. During the 2008–09 academic year, 108 students transferred into SESP. The total number of SESP students this fall is 400, compared with 284 three years ago.

More good news is that the new freshmen at Northwestern have the highest average SAT scores and class ranking in the University’s history. These 2,182 students have an average SAT score of 1442, and 91.5 percent rank in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

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SESP Ranks Number 7


US News 2009 ranking
Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) ranks number seven in the nation, according to the new 2010 ranking of graduate schools of education by U.S.News & World Report.


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By Marilyn Sherman