STEM Education

STEM Education

Spreading STEM School Success

Cabot Microelectronics’ commitment to the community and education continues to grow with its involvement in the foundation of a proposed STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) academy in the North Lawndale neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side.

The North Lawndale STEAM Partnership Academy is inspired by the John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School at Aurora University, a living laboratory created in collaboration with CMC and other corporate partners. The Academy would serve students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Like Dunham STEM School, the Academy will be founded on collective community engagement and a recombination of resources. It will also incorporate research-based STEAM teaching strategies that deepen student learning for mastery of curricular skills and concepts.

For over a year, a leadership team which includes Cabot Microelectronics has fostered partnerships to explore the feasibility of a STEM school in the Chicago area, based on the Dunham STEM School model. Through conversations with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) leadership and the North Lawndale Community Coordination Council (NLCCC), the Academy presents the opportunity to serve as a center for teacher preparation, faculty development, and educational research.

“If we’re able to transfer the successes of the Aurora STEM Partnership School to the North Lawndale STEAM Academy, it could become the model for all CPS schools,” said Debbie Bogash, Global Production Director and member of the STEM sub-team Employee Resource Group (ERG). “That’s exciting! STEM is the foundation of everything we do at CMC. Across our nation, there continues to be a shortage of skilled STEM workers — we want to be involved in providing a solution to that problem.”

A multi-generational STEM Partnership School, Dunham includes eight classrooms, six laboratories, a STEM Forum (common area), a multi-purpose room, a greenhouse and rooftop garden, according to the architecture firm Cordogan, Clark & Associates, Inc., which designed Dunham STEM School, and is currently conducting a $20M renovation of Chicago’s Lake View High School, the oldest operating public secondary school in Illinois.

While uniquely designed for the North Lawndale community, the academy will embody the process model developed at the Dunham STEM School by a consortium of partners from the academic, corporate and not-for-profit communities. “I find partnerships with corporations, higher education and non-profit organizations particularly interesting because there is a concrete connection between the curriculum and student learning experiences and real-world applications or career opportunities,” said Laurie Stalheim, a teacher at the Chicago Public School Sumner Elementary School in North Lawndale.

This dynamic mix of partners is key. “Our success in developing and delivering STEM curriculum in Aurora taught us that the most important ingredient in making a measurable difference in education is diversity of thought, experiences and perspectives,” said Peter Wright, Supply Chain Manager with Caterpillar, Inc., who is serving on the advisory team for the North Lawndale project. “Giving children access to high-quality education in a nurturing environment equips them to become leaders in our communities.”

Cabot Microelectronics donated $25,000 for teacher education. CMC employees are also supporting the proposed STEAM academy through involvement in the Program Framework and Learning Environment committees. CMC will also mentor the new corporate partners for the STEAM academy in North Lawndale.

“I am just so proud of the fact that so many foundations and corporations decided to join in and provide financial resources and to agree to get in that classroom and work with our children,” said Dr. Betty Greene, Executive Director of the Chicago Lawndale AMACHI Mentoring Program. “That lets us know that a lot of people care about our children, and that’s so important. I want to thank Cabot Microelectronics for their contributions and resources (both human and financial).”

What’s next?

Budget approval by Chicago Public Schools is scheduled for July 2019. The North Lawndale STEAM Academy is expected to open in Fall 2021.


Aurora University STEM Partnership

STEM_Video_Screen_CaptureCMC is a proud corporate partner to the John C. Dunham STEM school at Aurora University which serves students in third through eighth grades from the East Aurora, Indian Prairie and West Aurora school districts, as well as AU undergraduate and graduate students.The John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School is a living laboratory, equipped with the latest technology and build with hands-on education at the heart of its design. The school includes the Cabot Microelectronics Chemistry Laboratory.  This laboratory provides innovative approaches to the study of materials at micro and macro scale. Students apply their knowledge of chemistry, physics and biology to solve real-world problems.  Learn More