Inquiry Magazine Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy

FALL 2012

In this issue: Outreach to Schools


Students from Chicago’s Nettelhorst School Photo By Steve Drey

Students from Chicago’s Nettelhorst School view a 3-D imaging wall and science labs during a visit to Silverman Hall at Northwestern University hosted by the Office of STEM Education Partnerships.

Penelope Peterson

Message from the Dean

Dear Friends,

September signals “back to school” for most of us. We recall the excitement we felt as children when we sharpened our new pencils and crayons, readied our new notebook, assembled our ruler, protractor and other tools, and put everything together in our backpack for that first day of school. Then clad in our brand new first-day-of-school outfit, we shuffled through freshly fallen leaves as we walked the few blocks to school to be greeted warmly by our new teacher and classmates.

For those of us at the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP), however, we are not going back to school this fall because we never left! Our involvement with K-12 schools is continuous, and in this fall issue of Inquiry, we focus on our significant ongoing outreach to public and private elementary, middle and secondary schools. And through the magic of photos and story, we take you back to school as we tell you about our work. We focus on three major ways in which we connect with schools.

Leading our partnerships with schools is our own Office of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Partnerships (OSEP). OSEP brings together the cuttingedge research of scientists at Northwestern to inform STEM education in K-12 schools. OSEP assists schools through creation of new STEM programs and technology, professional development for teachers, and capacity building. This September, Kristen Perkins of OSEP will initiate the new Northwestern partnership with Evanston Township High School (ETHS), operating out of a purple office at ETHS to coach science teachers in efforts such as integrating literacy into science teaching.

Second, like most schools of education we serve K-12 schools by bringing them the talented teachers that we prepare. However, unlike many schools of education, our teacher education graduates immediately become leaders in their schools, assuming roles as chairs of their departments, serving as the major resources for other teachers in their building, and winning prestigious awards such as the Golden Apple Award and Presidential Fellowships. We are proud that through our NU-TEACH alternative certification program in the last 15 years, we have brought more than 900 talented teachers to teach in the Chicago Public Schools, many of them career changers who otherwise would not be urban teachers.

Finally, as researchers we know the power that tried-and-true, well-documented research can have in solving problems and improving educational practice. SESP economist Jon Guryan has created the Urban Education Lab, which is working to improve education outcomes in Chicago Public Schools by providing scientific evidence on what strategies are most academically effective as well as cost-effective.

All of the above efforts continued this past summer even as the official school year ended in June. While our work with the K-12 schools has been ongoing, we look forward to starting the new school year officially. Please feel free to join us for two significant back-to-school events this fall — the ribbon cutting for the purple office at Evanston Township High School on September 6 and the grand opening of our newly renovated Student Affairs Office in Annenberg Hall

Sincerely yours,

Penelope Signature
Penelope L. Peterson, Dean