By SAMANTHA SMYLIE
Walter H. Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., has received $26,000 as part of a grant from Camelot Illinois, a private manager of the Illinois Lottery, to expand their robotics and computer science programming.
Camelot Illinois partnered with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to award $96,000 to the CPS Computer Science for All (CS4All) initiative. The partnership includes funding to support teachers’ professional development for general computer science instruction and Camelot Illinois employees will have the opportunity to mentor, volunteer and tutor at both schools. Each school’s programming will be launched in September 2020.
“I am excited. We’re a school for the arts and allowing our students to have a computer science background leads to engineering,” said Dyett’s principle, Cortez McCoy. “A lot of our students want to record projects and do different media projects. If they have the knowledge to do coding or engineering then they can do those things in the art realm. So it helps our students to see the power of being involved in computer science as it relates to the arts.”
According to McCoy, the school’s $26,000 grant will be divided into two parts: $21,000 will go to resources while the remaining $5,000 will go to professional development for teachers to be certified to teach robotics. In addition to the grant, the school will receive three new robots to develop students’ programming skills.
Prior to the partnership with Camelot Illinois, Dyett offered fourth-year students “Exploring Computer Science,” an introductory level class. Now, the school expects to offer that class to first-year students, an advanced placement computer class for sophomores, juniors and seniors, and a robotics class. With the expansion of their curriculum, McCoy plans to open another academic pathway for students interested in engineering alongside their art pathways.
Before the end of the current school year, the school’s administration will visit other schools throughout the district to develop their robotics program and they hope to start teaching students fundamental skills as it relates to robotics.
As much as Dyett is excited to receive funding to grow their programming, Camelot Illinois is happy to work with Dyett.
“Excited can’t even begin to capture how we feel about it. We’re excited, we’re proud, we’re enthusiastic. Operating here in the state of Illinois and in the city of Chicago it’s important that the community knows that social responsibility is at our business’s core,” said Keith Horton, Acting General Manager, Vice President and General Counsel of Camelot Illinois.
“We view this as an opportunity to connect directly to communities in which we do business and we’re beyond pleased that Dyett would even consider us to partner with them”
By working with professionals from Camelot Illinois, Horton hopes that students at Dyett are able to access better technology and top tier instruction.