$2.3 Million Grant to STEAM Ahead

 In The CAPE Blog

CAPE was recently awarded $2.3 million by the U.S. Department of Education, in the form of an Assistance for Arts Education Development and Dissemination (AAEDD) grant for CAPE’s STEAM Ahead program.  CAPE has previously received four of these prestigious and highly competitive grants (formerly known as AEMDD), all of which demonstrated significant growth in teacher capacity and student achievement through our programs, and we’re honored to have the U.S. Department of Education’s ongoing confidence in our work.

About STEAM Ahead

This newest award will fund a four-year program called STEAM Ahead and will allow CAPE to partner with the Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163 (D163) to achieve the following goals with the D163 community:

  • Improve educators’ arts-integrated science+technology+engineering+math (STEAM) instructional practices
  • Improve students’ STEAM learning, capacities, and achievement
  • Develop whole school planning and capacity for STEAM-centered teaching and learning

Throughout the grant, we’ll be working with students and educators at D163 schools:

  • Barack Obama School of Leadership and STEM
  • Michelle Obama School of Technology and the Arts
  • 21st Century Primary Center
  • Blackhawk Primary Center
  • Mohawk Primary Center

“Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163 Board of Education, administrative team and teachers are looking forward to our four year partnership with CAPE to enrich our arts programs and continue to provide a high quality education in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics,” stated Caletha White, Superintendent Designate of School District 163.  “We are committed to developing the whole child through engaging and innovative learning experiences. The STEAM Ahead program will enhance our ongoing efforts to fully engage learners and increase interest in STEAM careers.”

How will STEAM Ahead work?

Beginning in Spring 2019 and continuing through the 2021-2022 school year, the STEAM Ahead program will provide D163 art teachers and classroom teachers with ongoing professional development that will address:

  • Approaches to STEM+Arts integration (STEAM),
  • Collaborative and inquiry-based planning and teaching, and
  • Innovative and effective standards-based teaching and learning that addresses state and national science, math, and core arts standards.

The program will also partner experienced CAPE teaching artists with the three art teachers and three STEAM teachers from D163 to co-design and co-teach STEAM curricula.  In addition, the teaching artists will co-teach STEAM-integrated sessions with classroom teachers from kindergarten through 5th grade.  This multilevel approach will ensure that participating K-5 students will benefit from inquiry-based, collaborative STEAM projects in their art rooms and daily classrooms, while also enriching and expanding their teachers’ abilities to weave the arts into science, technology, engineering, and math lessons.

“CAPE is very excited to share our 25-year of experience in working to partner teachers and artists with SD163 and to expand our reach to Chicago’s south suburbs,” said Amy Rasmussen, CAPE’s Executive Director. “We are eager to help SD163 close the achievement gap and help student learn and thrive through arts integrated learning.”

Researching the Impact

A vital component of all AAEDD grant awards is in-depth and rigorous research aimed at understanding the actual impact of the work being done in classrooms, and CAPE has a demonstrated capacity and eagerness for such research. Throughout the four years of the STEAM Ahead program, CAPE will be working with external researchers to investigate how our professional development and classroom strategies contribute to improved educator practices, student learning, and school capacities. This research will allow us to identify best practices to offer back to the field as well as areas with room for further growth.

Click below to explore some of CAPE’s previous AAEDD grant projects and their research:

Looking Ahead

We are thrilled to be expanding CAPE’s work into Chicago’s southland through this new partnership with Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163 and we’re grateful for their enthusiastic welcome to their District. Together, CAPE and D163 will work to bring exciting new creative growth to their students, teachers, schools, and district, and we look forward to sharing the progress with our supporters as we go.

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