In Partnership with Digital Youth Network, Chicago’s First City of Learning Initiative Will Create Year-Round Learning Opportunities for Students across the City
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that the new City of Learning initiative will provide students with access to a year-round set of activities and learning opportunities for all youth. Building on the city’s successful Summer of Learning initiative, the City of Learning initiative will continue to provide students with a platform for learning outside the classroom that will connect to their education at school.
“The City of Chicago is proud to expand access to year-round learning opportunities and safe spaces for our youth when school is not in session,” said Mayor Emanuel. “By transforming the City into a campus year round, we will continue to provide creative, interactive learning opportunities that will maximize the potential of all children.”
Throughout December, particularly during winter break, students are invited to take part in Mayor Emanuel’s Winter Adventure Passport, a series of group and self-guided activities that will engage participants to explore Chicago and document their learning. As a reward, those who complete three or more activities and submit a completed Winter Passport will be eligible to win one of many prizes offered. Passports and information cards were given out at CPS Report Card Pick-Up Day and are available at libraries across the city and at www.explorechi.org.
Some examples of Winter Adventure activities include:
On January 18, 2014 from 11am to 4pm, Chicago City of Learning will host a free day of exploration at the DePaul University Center, called Destination: Chicago, a festival of doing and making for all ages, to cap off the Winter Adventure Passport. Similar to the Summer Showcase, students will come together to engage in hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) activities and appreciate the work of their peers. Participating organizations who offer year-round and summer programs will be present, providing families and students with a preview of exciting opportunities available to them for spring and summer.
To expand Summer of Learning into a year-long learning experience, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation provided a $1.5 million grant to Digital Youth Network (DYN), a digital literacy program for youth based at DePaul University. As the leading partner, DYN will leverage this grant to provide for more learning opportunities than last year’s Summer of Learning, helping to provide children with more pathways connected to their interests, and ensuring that the new knowledge and skills they acquire unlock opportunities for further learning, internships, jobs, and academic success. This $1.5 million dollar grant is part of MacArthur’s $100 million digital media and learning initiative to re-imagine learning for the digital age.
With efforts to provide youth across the city with learning outside of school and safe environments, City of Learning will serve as a precursor to Summer of Learning 2014. Last summer, Chicago’s Summer of Learning engaged students with more than 100 organizations who offered learning opportunities in STEAM. These programs allowed students to develop new skills and be inspired to explore and create future pathways.
More than 230,000 students participated in the Summer of Learning, engaging in a variety of activities at the city’s museums, cultural institutions, parks, libraries, community organizations, public spaces, as well as colleges and universities. As a reward for their hard work, students earned more than 100,000 digital badges to share with friends, families, employers, and schools—representing their skills and achievements.
Chicago's investments in other interactive, STEAM learning opportunities for children include: