CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today Perspectives/IIT Math and Science Academy (MSA) is calling on the Chicago business community to increase its engagement with schools to help close the inequality gap that exists in under-resourced areas. Perspectives MSA credits its readiness for the 2020-2021 remote school year to its deep, meaningful relationships with several Chicago companies that have engaged by providing employee support and financial resources.
“Our corporate supporters have embraced understanding the communities Perspectives serves, and they partner with us on solutions that have led to better mental and physical resources for students, a double-digit increase in graduation rates and reduced level of suspension,” said TyNeisha Banks, principal of Perspectives. “We urge Chicago corporations to engage with us and other under-resourced schools to, eventually, erase the inequality gap altogether.”
When COVID-19 forced schools to close in March, the challenges for students of under-resourced communities were amplified, as families lacked the resources required for their children to get online and participate in e-learning. Many struggled to remain connected, had to share devices with siblings, or simply didn’t have stable, reliable Internet access.
As Perspectives/IIT Math & Science Academy prepared to return to e-learning this month, some students are managing transient living situations. Horizon Therapeutics called on its employees to donate funds to help with the cost of new laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots for all 526 students. The company then funded the balance needed to cover the purchase and helped to coordinate the purchase and delivery to students.
“Establishing equity in education is one of the most important factors in shaping the next generation of leaders,” said Timothy P. Walbert, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Horizon. “In healthcare in particular, we know that diversity of experience will be key to future innovations. Four years ago, we established a partnership with Perspectives to support the ‘whole’ child by addressing mental and physical barriers to learning, and this year’s effort to overcome technological disparities related to remote learning remains true to that mission. We hope our engagement with the school will be a model for other corporate partnerships with educators and inspire others in the Chicago community to come together and help address racial and economic disparities.”
To help ensure students continue to prepare for college and career in a virtual environment, companies like Citi and EY provided laptops and hotspots as part of their commitment to post secondary success. Additionally, ComEd and Lundbeck are committed to providing virtual mentoring and learning experiences to keep students engaged. This supports Perspectives in delivering their mission of a holistic education, which includes experiential opportunities.
For many years, other corporations in Chicago have taken action and supported Perspectives. “EY is proud to be a long-time supporter of Perspectives students, as we believe that business can be a force for good in society,” said Chicago Office Managing Partner, Jud Snyder. “Making a positive difference in the world is not a side activity. It’s our reason for being. Now more than ever, EY is committed to anti-racism. Our corporate responsibility commitment builds racial equity by equalizing access to learning in support of eliminating education inequities, and we couldn’t be prouder to support Perspectives in one of the ways to achieve this.”
“Our corporate sponsors are like family to us,” said Diana Shulla-Cose, co-founder of Perspectives. “These are uncertain and turbulent times, but because of Horizon, Citi, EY, ComEd and Lundbeck, we have renewed confidence about the 2020-2021 school year.”
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About Perspectives/IIT Math & Science Academy
Perspectives/IIT Math & Science Academy (MSA) prepares our students for success in college and in life by pairing strong social emotional learning with a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that emphasizes science, technology, math, engineering, and the arts. Located in Bronzeville, MSA serves approximately 500 students in grades 7-12.
MSA offers cutting edge technology that allows students to gain certifications and excel in web design, computer coding, Adobe Photoshop™, robotics, AP Physics and relevant STEM courses. High-achieving students can also opt in to an accelerated pathway to earn college credits through dual enrollment partnerships with the City Colleges of Chicago.
MSA partners with leading organizations, including Horizon Therapeutics and AAR, to give students opportunities to build relationships with mentors in STEM industries. Students begin college visits in middle school and all students receive targeted college counseling support. Over 50 after-school programs and athletic teams create a vibrant school culture that cultivates in students’ ethical leadership in college, their careers, and the world.