Excel Beyond 211 Helps Three District 211 Alumni Earn $6,000 in Scholarships

Cristhian Ocano and Danica Lopez are two of the three scholarship recipients.

Cristhian Ocano and Danica Lopez are two of the three scholarship recipients.

Excel Beyond 211 (EB211), a program designed to mentor and support first-generation college students from low-income families, announced that three students are starting the school year off with fewer financial worries.

District 211 Alumni Samantha Hernandez, 2015 graduate of Hoffman Estates High School, Danica Lopez, a 2014 graduate of Palatine High School, and Cristhian Ocano, a 2014 graduate of Palatine High School, were each awarded a $2,000 scholarship for future engineers from Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. of Deer Park, an international company that develops intelligent technologies for transporting people and their goods.

EB211Cristhian said he is hopeful the scholarship will allow him to work fewer hours at Caputo’s Fresh Market. This will help him to focus on raising his grade point average. He is starting his second year at Harper College in the Pathways Program, which will allow him to transfer to the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana if he maintains a 3.30 grade point average.  Cristhian praised his EB211 mentor, Carlos Robles, for supporting Cristhian’s college goals.

“Carlos has invited me to his house to talk, and it is because of him that I applied for this scholarship,” Cristhian said. “He understands my financial need and sends me information about scholarships as he learns about them.”

Danica is especially grateful for the additional funds. This summer Danica transferred from Harper College, where she was working on her Associate’s Degree in Science, to Shoreline College in Shoreline, Wash., just north of Seattle. This move, she believes, will bring her closer to her ultimate goal of attending the University of Washington as a biomedical engineering major. Having worked two jobs while attending Harper College last school year, Danica is hopeful that she will only need to work one job during the coming year.

“The minimum wage in Washington is $11, so if I work 25 – 30 hours a week, I should be able to make it,” she said stating even that will be a challenge considering the chemistry, biology, and microbiology courses in which she is enrolled. “At first my parents were scared about me moving so far away, but they trust me enough to know I will make good decisions. It took a bit of convincing to get them to agree.”

Being part of EB211 has been a significant help to Danica.  “EB211 has been a tremendous guide for me, especially since both my parents attended school in Mexico,” Danica said. “They tried to help me, but sometimes this was difficult.  My mentor, Carlota Rodelo, has been incredible. She really understands my family’s cultural values.”

Scott Beutler, Vice President of Continental Automotive Systems, Inc., who are known for their auto electrical parts in the UK, applauded EB211 and the scholarship recipients.

“Continental is pleased to collaborate with Excel Beyond 211 Dollars for Scholar by awarding $2,000 engineering scholarships to three of their highly talented students,” Beutler said. “Our belief is that these scholarship awards are a great investment in these specific students to pursue their personal dreams of attaining an engineering degree in college. Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. plans further collaboration with Excel Beyond 211by exploring options for engineering internships for these deserving students.”

For more information about the Excel Beyond 211 program, please visit the website.




PHOTOS: ISBE, PARCC Representatives Visit District 211 for PARCC Testing

Schaumburg High School students enrolled in E101 English 1, E102 English 1, and E108 English 1 find their seats before the start of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Test on March 3.

Schaumburg High School students enrolled in E101 English 1, E102 English 1, and E108 English 1, find their seats before the start of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Test on March 3.

District 211 participated in the PARCC Test on March 3. The PARCC website states: “The PARCC member states share this fundamental goal: ensuring that every student graduates from high school prepared for success in college and the workplace. The PARCC states’ high quality assessments will allow parents and educators to see how children are progressing in school and whether they are on track for postsecondary success. The PARCC assessment also provides teachers with the ability to identify students who may be falling behind and need extra help.”

Wes Bruce, off-site consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education, and Margaret Horn, vice president of State Engagement & Outreach for PARCC, Inc., visited Schaumburg High School during PARCC testing on March 3 to view the testing site and discuss District 211′s preparation and implementation of the test. 

Wes Bruce (center), off-site consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education, and Margaret Horn (center-right), vice president of State Engagement & Outreach for PARCC, Inc., visited Schaumburg High School during PARCC testing on March 3. From left to Right:  Dan Cates, superintendent of Schools, Lisa Small, associate superintendent for Instruction at District 211, Wes Bruce, off-site consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education, Margaret Horn, vice president of State Engagement & Outreach for PARCC, Inc., Tim Little, Schaumburg High School Principal.

Wes Bruce (center), off-site consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education, and Margaret Horn (center-right), vice president of State Engagement & Outreach for PARCC, Inc., visited Schaumburg High School during PARCC testing on March 3 to view the testing site and discuss District 211’s preparation and implementation of the test. From left to Right: Dan Cates, District 211 superintendent of Schools, Lisa Small, associate superintendent for Instruction at District 211, Wes Bruce, off-site consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education, Margaret Horn, vice president of State Engagement & Outreach for PARCC, Inc., Tim Little, Schaumburg High School Principal.

 




D211 Engineering & Manufacturing Advisory Council, Innovation Generation Grant Help Grow Program

District 211 logoNew during the 2013-2014 school year is the manufacturing program. Part of the Applied Technology Department, this program introduces students to the field of manufacturing with courses designed to teach students the necessary skills to earn three certifications that will help students land a job after high school.

“Students will have the opportunity to come out of this class with nationally recognized industry certificates through the National Institute of Metal Working Skills,” said Palatine High School Applied Technology Department Chair Mark Hibner. “Students learn how to work machinery they would encounter in the real world, as well as professional skills and different techniques.”

There will eventually be three courses in the manufacturing track that will be offered for students sophomore level and higher. These courses are designed in conjunction with classes offered at Harper College, and District 211 is working with the college to offer dual-credit to their students. The D211 program was built with the goal of giving students the opportunity to enroll into a paid internship class at Harper College and into one of the four areas that Harper offers for study.  The District wanted to give students the opportunity to “earn while they learn,” upon graduation from D211.

The District is also looking at ways to expand this program further by creating the District 211 Engineering and Manufacturing Council, as well as with grant assistance. A grant for Advanced Manufacturing, Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM), and the Biomedical Engineering: an integrated approach to foundational learning in the twenty first century, is helping expand opportunities for students and the program. It is part of the Innovation Generation grant program from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions, Inc.

“Manufacturing is now a high-skilled, high-wage career, which changes the perception of the field,” added Mr. Hibner. “It’s high tech and it’s cool. “Students will earn higher wages and will be more marketable to employers after this program.”




District 211 Hosts Engineering, Math, Science Conference for Area Fifth and Sixth Grade Girls

GEMS participants create slime in the polymers session run by ACS.

To get fifth and sixth grade girls interested in the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering before they enter high school, High School District 211 hosted its annual program that teaches them about careers in those fields.

The third-annual GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science) conference was held on Feb. 9 at James B. Conant High School. Approximately 160 fifth and sixth grade students participated in the hands-on learning sessions and activities that focused on engineering, science, and math.

“I really believe that if students have a teacher in elementary or middle school who isn’t very thrilled about math or science, it can carry over to students and give them a fear of going into what many consider to be male-dominated fields, ” said Courtney Buss, applied technology teacher at Conant High School. “This program is a ray of light to spark their interest in these careers and fields.”

Michele Marasigan, a Conant High School sophomore, helps a GEMS participant during the 3D Modeling session.

Michele Marasigan, a Conant High School sophomore, helps a GEMS participant during the 3D Modeling session.

Women teach the activities, whether they are teachers in the District or in fields such as structural design, polymers, technology, geology, or mathematics. Female students in all five District 211 high schools also worked the events and helped guide fifth and sixth graders through the learning sessions. Buss said because these fields are generally male dominated, exciting students early and showcasing women in the field can help eliminate the notion that men are better suited for these careers.

At the event, there were 25 different career booths and many presenters, including women from the American Chemical Society, Stepan Chemistry, and Northwestern University. The keynote speaker was Hillary M. Peltier, Ph.D, senior scientist II – Chemistry, from Abb Vie, Inc. After listening to opening remarks and the keynote speaker, information and learning sessions were held.

Women from Caterpillar Inc., use VEX robots and sample industry trucks to demonstrate a typical day on the job during the career fair portion of the conference.

Women from Caterpillar Inc., use VEX robots and sample industry trucks to demonstrate a typical day on the job during the career fair portion of the conference.

Parents were invited to the conference as well, but were split into different sessions from their children. Students had hands-on learning sessions, such as Inventor, 3D Modeling, Polymers, Engineering, Manufacturing, Biology, Pathology, and MWM Modules. Parents had sessions regarding what to expect once their child enters high school and how to help them be successful, including Preparing Girls for High School, Spatial Reasoning, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) discussions.

Not only was the afternoon informational, but also was designed for fun. Students could participate in games and raffles. They also received goody bags, which were donated by various organizations, including Sargent-Welch, Steven Spangler Science, and Holt McDougal. District 211 already has received feedback from parents explaining how their daughters had such a great experience and that they are looking forward to next year’s conference.

Conant Project Lead the Way student volunteers helped during in the 3D modeling sessions.

Conant Project Lead the Way student volunteers helped during in the 3D modeling sessions.

“We have heard from parents, and they get so excited about GEMS, and they’ve said their daughters enjoy it so much,” Buss said. “Last year, a student won a microscope, and you would never think a fifth grade girl would be so enamored by a microscope, but it absolutely made her day. She uses it and it’s great to see those connections after the event.”

Although this is the third year for the conference, first-year event participants are currently in eight grade and will be entering high school next year. With this class, the District will be able to track the girls enrolling in engineering, science, and mathematics courses. Buss said it is exciting to see the conference heading into its next stage and to see if the program is making an impact on girls entering science and math driven paths.

“Our first sixth graders that participated are eighth graders now, and they have maintained a connection through our Project Lead the Way summer camps,” Buss said. “It’s very exciting to see that these students are interested in our program.”

For more information about GEMS, please visit the GEMS blog.