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Northwestern Teams Up With Apple, Chicago Public Schools On Teacher Learning

Northwestern University, Apple and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have joined forces to provide professional learning opportunities in coding to Chicago teachers.

As part of the collaboration, a Center for Excellence will be established at Lane Tech College Prep High School to introduce high school teachers to Apple’s Everyone Can Code and App Development with Swift curriculum. The effort aims to bring coding into the classroom and address the shortage of high school computer science teachers.

“We want to help every CPS student graduate with the technical knowledge and skills they need to use coding to positively impact their own lives and those around them,” said Nichole Pinkard, associate professor of learning sciences and faculty director of the Office of Community Education Partnerships (OCEP) in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern.

Apple will develop the professional learning in collaboration with Northwestern’s experts, who will lead the professional development sessions. Participating teachers also will receive in-school coaching and mentorship opportunities. Apple will provide the devices — iPad and Mac — to support the trainings.

“When you combine the brainpower of Chicago Public Schools, Northwestern University and Apple, the possibilities are limitless,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This partnership will support Chicago teachers, spark the imaginations of Chicago students and accelerate the record academic gains we are experiencing across our city.”

The joint effort with Apple and Chicago Public Schools builds on OCEP’s experience and ongoing relationship with the Baxter Center for Science Education, a collaborative partnership between Lindblom Math & Science Academy, OCEP and Baxter International Inc.

The Baxter Center provides teacher training, supplies, and ongoing support to help teachers implement hands-on life science programs that focus on activities aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Since 2009, Northwestern has hosted 53 workshops and trained 1,200 teachers from 300 schools in CPS and the greater Chicagoland area through the Baxter Center, reaching an estimated 101,000 students a year.

“We strive to bring Northwestern’s research, teaching and service missions together in our local communities to make lives better in our hometowns of Chicago, Evanston and beyond,” said SESP Dean David Figlio. “By collaborating with visionary companies like Apple and Baxter, we have the chance to do something transformative for Chicago and the world.”

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