By TONIA HILL
A new entrepreneurship seminar was unveiled at Walter H. Dyett for the Arts High School, 555 E. 51 St. Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Dyett High School Principal Beulah McLoyd, Chicago Public School (CPS) Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice Jackson and Howard Tullman CEO of 1871 for the announcement, Monday, April 3.
Emanuel said the possibilities are endless for students at Dyett because the program will help them successfully develop into artists or entrepreneurs.
“I firmly believe whether you become an artist, or you want to have your own dance company, theater company, or you want to produce other people’s music the class that Howard and other people are going to teach is key to your [students] success,” Emanuel said.
The new program, which is a joint initiative of 1871 and CPS, will begin this spring at Dyett and provide the inaugural class of 20 freshmen with an eight-week first-of-its-kind seminar on what it takes to become an entrepreneur. Students in the program will be given exposure to innovation and technology and learn alongside local entrepreneurs and receive mentorship from them.
The program, the Eagle Entrepreneurs Group, was created in collaboration with Tullman and McLoyd. It integrates with the school’s Algebra and Entrepreneurship courses, and Tullman’s book “The Perspiration Principles,” based on the ideas used at 1871 to help entrepreneurs and small businesses to launch and thrive in Chicago.
McLoyd said each day as she looks at her students she recognizes their potential. She believes the program will inspire students to create.
“If given the right opportunities our students are capable,” said McLoyd, who said the students will have the training necessary to accomplish their goals.
The purpose of the alliance is to supplement the school’s arts and tech-focused curriculum by giving students the opportunity to think and solve problems found in the STEM industry and digital age.
Tullman said the program is an exciting opportunity for students he stated that the program already has a “tremendous amount of support already from the city and 1871. We expect that a number of major entrepreneurs in the city will also make donations to the city to support what’s going on in this program.”
Tullman and 1871 are supporting the program and the creation of a new classroom through donations from local entrepreneurs and local organizations such as Steelcase, Interface Carpets, and local interior designer Barbara Pollack.
Pollack will be designing and coordinating the development of a new 1871 inspired interactive learning classroom. The classroom will be used to create future opportunities for students to engage in technology workshops and seminars.
Currently, CPS is working with 1871 to expand the curriculum to other schools this school year by adapting Tullman’s lessons for a webcast. Also, the district is working to develop an advanced curriculum for 10th graders who want to continue to participate in the program next year, which will allow them to serve as mentors to incoming students next year.
“This is an excellent blend here,” Jackson said in regard to Dyett’s dual curriculum of STEM education and the arts. “It shows 1871’s commitment to our students here in CPS.”
Dyett High School reopened this school year with a focus on the arts and community innovation lab component based upon the desires of the community. Students at Dyett have access to a new state of the art Innovation Technology Lab, allowing teachers to integrate technology in instruction and members of the community to gain access to a technology hub.
Though the school has been open less than a year, Jackson said the school is already making gains in attendance and Freshmen-On-Track.
“We [only] have a class of ninth graders and on their freshmen on track rate and attendance rate – on every single metric that we can measure freshmen against, the students at Dyett High School are excelling,” Jackson said. “This is a place worth investing in.”
According to the To&Through project at the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute, students who are on track at the end of ninth grade are nearly three times more likely to graduate from high school than students who are off-track.
Dyett students are slated to start the seminar towards the end of this month.