CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—April 16, 2018
By: Nora Mabie
Hundreds of youth and families from across the city attended Chicago City of Learning’s (CCOL) Spring Into Summer Fair at Jones College Prep on Saturday, where they had the opportunity to explore, try out, and sign up for a diverse set of summer programs offered citywide.
Launched in the summer of 2013 by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CCOL is a year-round initiative that allows young people to discover, engage in and have evidence for out-of-school learning opportunities they pursue beyond school walls.
CCOL, whose online platform currently hosts more than 100,000 youth’s digital portfolios, is helping youth and families “Get Set For Summer” by encouraging them to participate in summer programs based on their interests and passions, rather than just practicalities like location and cost. Through partnerships with over 100 community-based organizations and collaboration with the city’s parks and libraries, CCOL can help youth and families discover new options that align with their passions and that are close and free or low-cost.
At the Fair, Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade recognized three CPS schools, Marcus Moziah Garvey Elementary School, Ambrose Plamondon Elementary School, and John Palmer Elementary School for their students’ high level of engagement on the CCOL platform and awarded iPad Minis to students who had particularly strong submissions in CCOL’s Create Your Path challenge, which asked youth to write about their passions.
“At Chicago Public Schools, we feel it is important for youth to personalize their education and think about what they are really interested in. We want them to dive into that passion, get better at it, and then use their formal learning to carry that passion into their college and/or career experiences,” said Chief McDade.
While CCOL’s database offers thousands of programs and hundreds of online activities, there was no shortage of opportunity at the Spring Into Summer Fair. With offerings from twenty four of Chicago’s leading cultural organizations, activities ranged from juggling with CircEsteem and improvisation with The Second City, to robotics with the Adler Planetarium and arts and crafts with the Art Institute of Chicago. By engaging in hands-on activities with the participating organizations, youth discovered new interests and deepened existing passions, while adults learned how to access programs – both online and on site – to meet those interests.
But the Fair is not the only aspect of CCOL’s “Get Set For Summer” initiative. Rather, the City of Chicago, CPS and CCOL are encouraging all youth and families to visit Chicagocityoflearning.com to explore the hundreds of summer programs and ultimately sign up for the ones that interest them most! The CCOL platform makes individualized recommendations to youth, based on their interests, and then enables youth to send a text message to parents or guardians, notifying them of their interests.
“Chicago has so much to offer young people, and we simply want to make it easier for youth to explore their interests and ultimately pursue their passions by taking up these great programs all over the city…especially during the summer,” said Sybil Madison-Boyd, Ph.D. of Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, Office of Community Education Partnerships and the Director of Chicago City of Learning.
Organizations who participated in the Spring Into Summer Fair:
- The Adler Planetarium
- After School Matters
- The Anti-Cruelty Society
- The Art Institute of Chicago
- Chicago Botanic Garden
- Chicago Center for Arts & Technology
- Chicago City Soccer Club
- Chicago Jazz Philharmonic
- Chicago Zoological Society – Brookfield Zoo
- Classroom Inc.
- Important Little Games
- INTUIT: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
- Mad Science of Chicago
- NIU STEM Outreach
- Project Exploration
- Project SYNCERE
- The Second City
- Smart Museum of Art
- STEM Scouts and Boy Scouts of America
- Urban Gateways: Teen Arts Pass & Street Level
- The Viola Project
Chicago City of Learning (CCOL) is a free, city initiative that is run by the Digital Youth Network at the Office for Community and Education Partnerships in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. For more information, visit www.ChicagoCityofLearning.org, email us at [email protected] or call 312.822.0505.