DePaul Releases Study on CPS Computer Science Graduation Requirement

Last December, DePaul University, in partnership with the Chicago Alliance for Equity in Computer Science (CAFECS), released findings of a research study, funded by a $150,000 one-year grant from CME Group Foundation, on the impact of the computer science (CS) high school graduation requirement in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). According to DePaul’s study, CPS now leads the nation in CS education!

Every year, 14,000 students graduate from CPS with at least one year of computer science. This wasn’t always the case: before the CS graduation requirement was introduced in 2016, approximately half of CPS schools did not offer any CS classes, and two-thirds had insufficient capacity to offer CS for all students. Larger schools with fewer low-income students and a strong college-bound culture were more likely to offer CS.

Read the full report here

Just launched: The Ready Child Website

With the support of CME Group Foundation, in 2012 and 2019, the University of Illinois Chicago College of Education launched Early Math Counts and Early Science Matters – websites packed with resources and guidance to help foster the development of early math and science skills in children from birth through age five. Excitingly, the early learning offerings have expanded with the recent launch of The Ready Child, a website designed to help children get the most out of their kindergarten experience.

The Ready Child uses a strengths-based lens to support each child on where they are at developmentally, and provides experiences and resources that allow them to continue to play, learn and develop. It is focused on the role that teachers and families play in kindergarten readiness- and how we can support them with a rich library of resources, including practical activities and ideas for supporting young children’s growth at home and in the classroom.

The transition to kindergarten can be a big adjustment for the child as well as the families involved. During this transition time, families and preschool teachers are often searching for resources to help them be prepared to support their children where they are at developmentally, reflected Kathleen Sheridan, Associate Professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois Chicago. Our Ready Child site provides both families and teachers the resources to work together to identify each child's unique strengths, and to build on those strengths.

Check out the website at:

Computer Science is Hands On

We Code Juntos

Through CME Group Foundation’s grantee, Universidad Popular, an after-school program called We Code Juntos has been underway serving youth in South Lawndale and Chicago Lawn. We Code Juntos takes a practical approach to Computer Science education, believing that young learners want to be able to apply right away what they are taught in their classes or else they lose interest. For that reason, Universidad Popular is committed to making sure their youth see for themselves the benefits of joining their programs. As part of its coding lesson plans, We Code Juntos has added projects that encompass trade skills and career exploration as well. They present students with challenges that require trial and error and hands-on learning.

In January and February of 2023, We Code Juntos used a welding opportunities lesson plan as a building block for their projects, allowing youth to create a cube using cardboard and a hot glue gun. As noted in the lesson plan: In actual welding, it’s not just the connecting material that melts… the two metals being joined together melt as well! This makes a welding bond even stronger than a hot glue bond.

When the program facilitators found that this example of welding with the hot glue gun did not really give justice to the true impact of welding, they decided to take the lesson a step further by bringing actual welding opportunities to students as the youth were given the opportunity to solder a wire led cube and weld a metal cube. The activity was quickly brought to life in a new way! The youth will then transition to coding to complete the activity.

Angel Benitez, high school senior from Little Village, joined the We Code Juntos program at a time when he needed academic support in math and science. He reflected on his experience noting the staff there: [It] really helped me a lot. Before, I didn’t listen to anybody, but after getting involved I started earning As and Bs.

Underwater Robotics

This computer science project doesn’t require welding- but it does need a pool! Across the city, the Union League Boys and Girls Club of Chicago is offering underwater robotics to students both at their own club locations and within programs that run at school sites. Serving 150 students across 14 sites in Chicago, the program guides students through a real-world engineering and design project centered around building an underwater robot. Beyond the experience of building and programming an underwater rover robot, the program provides a supportive ecosystem for students through an out-of-school learning environment.

Within the program, students are on small teams all working to solve a complicated problem: how do they build a robot that can move underwater to complete challenges, like pick up a starfish, unlock a door, and move a set of keys? Students across the Union League Boys and Girls Club were plugging away at tackling this challenge, with some groups in rooms working on drilling holes to finish assembling their robots, others practicing using the motor to move it around the pool, and others timing each other competitively, cheering when they made it through the underwater course. And they have good reason to feel competitive: last year they came in first place in the Navy Great Lakes Regional Competition and went on to compete in the International SeaPerch Challenge at the University of Maryland!

Amirali Jivani, Technology and Science Director, for Union League Boys and Girls Club, has big dreams for his students: I want them to work at Tesla someday. I want them to be able to build an autonomous robot and win this competition. I want them to be prepared for any job they want to have. And we can do that here, it starts with this.

We continue to see our grantees go above and beyond to give students hands-on learning experiences!

Promo to Subscribe to the CME Group Foundation Newsletter

CME Group Foundation Supports College and Career Success!

Announcement: CME Group Foundation Scholars application is open until April 4th! Spread the word to eligible college students you may know. Learn more here.

CME Group Foundation remains committed to supporting students to start on strong career or college pathways after high school. Our grantees are providing mentoring, scholarships, and internships for students. They are meeting students where they are at now, to help take them to where they are going. Our grantees are advocating for legislative changes and creating systems-level support that make college and career pathways more of a reality for all students. CME Group Foundation is proud to partner with organizations across Chicago that are committed to postsecondary success.

Congratulations to our College and Career Success grantees who were awarded grants this year:

  • Scholarship America
  • Genesys Works
  • Braven
  • America Needs You
  • Youth Job Center
  • Wall Street Bound
  • Greenwood Project
  • National Louis University
  • George W. Bush Foundation
  • Bottom Line
  • One Million Degrees
  • College Possible
  • University of Chicago Network for College Success
  • Better Future Forward
  • iMentor
  • One Goal
  • Posse Foundation
  • Associated Colleges of Illinois
  • Hope Chicago
  • Northern Illinois University Education Systems Center
  • Partnership for College Completion
  • Empower Illinois
  • University of Chicago Consortium on School Research
  • Advance Illinois





View the archive