CHICAGO, Dec. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Big Shoulders Fund, a 27-year old Chicago based nonprofit that supports 90 inner-city Catholic schools, has taken a holistic approach to improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs in their schools to prepare students, especially from low income communities, for high school, college and the workforce. The Chicago office of Ernst & Young LLP is committing $75,000 over the next three years to fund the purchase of 90 iPads along with professional development to integrate digital tools and technology into classrooms. This year the program will invest in three schools, but over the next three years the initiative will enhance math education for up to 2,500 students at 10 Big Shoulders Fund schools from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.
This newest initiative builds on Big Shoulders Fund's long-term investment, with support from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, to improve elementary mathematics education through the adoption of high quality curriculum, ongoing professional development for teachers, development of teacher leaders, and support for administrators and classroom coaching led by the University of Chicago's Center for Elementary Math and Science Education.
"EY is committed to helping students prepare for college, and investing in math education is key to college readiness," said Lee Henderson, Big Shoulders Fund board member and Assurance partner at Ernst & Young LLP. "I'm thankful to work for a firm that recognizes the important role the business community plays in supporting education and I'm excited to see how this new technology will make a meaningful difference in these students' lives."
The initiative was formally launched on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 as Ernst & Young presented an Apple iPad Learning Lab and Everyday Mathematics® tools to three Big Shoulders Fund schools including St. Gall, St. Nicholas of Tolentine and Northside Catholic Academy. Employees from the firm's Chicago office delivered iPads to the classroom and worked alongside the students to demonstrate the educational programs focused on improving mathematics skills and knowledge.
"We are so grateful for the tremendous support of and partnership with EY that enables us to improve the mathematics education available to our students, while integrating technology which is so essential to the workforce of tomorrow. Ernst & Young has been a strong corporate partner with a clear focus on employee engagement and education especially for underserved children." said Josh Hale, President and CEO of the Big Shoulders Fund
About Big Shoulders Fund
Big Shoulders is unique in that administrative expenses are supported by an endowment and other income, which ensures all funds currently raised go toward programs that benefit the Big Shoulders Fund schools and the students they serve. The 90 Big Shoulders Fund schools educate 24,000 children — 80 percent minority, 62 percent living in poverty and 32 percent not Catholic—and break trends with proven success — 97 percent of students graduate from high school and 87 percent go on to college — with this underserved demographic. The Fund invests $12 to $14 million each year in renewable and emergency scholarship programs, academic and student enrichment programs, strategic operating and marketing programs, and leadership and teacher development programs.
CONTACT: Rebecca Lindsay-Ryan
SOURCE Big Shoulders Fund