Promising Partnerships to Bring Awareness

University Partnerships

Partnerships developed for the STEM Partnership School have provided experiential opportunities for the university STEM undergraduate students.

STEM Success 4U event
STEM Success 4U event
Over 200 undergraduate students attended the STEM Success 4U event held on Saturday, Feb 8, 2020. The students had the opportunity to listen to the STEM alumni panel, meet with graduate recruiters, and learn about internships from partners.

A small group of middle school students presented their research topic, Light Pollution, to the university Eco Club. The goal was to institute a campus-wide “lights out” day to bring a local awareness to a global problem.

Project Linus Event
Project Linus Event
Ms. Natalie Soelke’s middle school students in social studies, as part of the civic unit, collaborated with Aurora University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (AU SAAC) to create blankets for patients at Waterford Cancer Research Center in Aurora. Over 20 blankets were created at this Project Linus event.
Volcano presentation
Ms.Janie Johnston, AU Earth and Space Science instructor, presented on volcanoes to Ms. Kate Richards’s 4th grade students. Volcanoes are part of the Geology and Space unit at the STEM School and Ms. Johnston discussed why volcanoes are formed, their locations on earth, and their different types.
National Women in Sports Day
National Women in Sports Day
Aurora University women athletic directors, coaches, and university student athletes hosted the National Women in Sports Day event for all female STEM School students. The event consisted of skill based drills for soccer, hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. The university student athletes partnered with STEM School students to attend various sports stations, discuss female empowerment, sportsmanship, and leadership.

Three AU graduate students in social work observed Ms. Nancy Hebert’s 4th grade and Ms. Nikki Kitzmiller’s 5th grade STEM blocks. The observations are part of a AU social work graduate course assignment.

Eco Club
Eco Club
A group of 7th grade middle school girls presented their research on Light Pollution to the university Eco Club. The girls highlighted the impact on natural habitat and energy usage as well as how the university can take steps to limit the effects of artificial light in the environment.

Corporate and Nonprofit Partnerships


Representatives from ComEd visited with third graders. They shared how weather impacts the work that ComEd does and how important weather prediction can help with national disaster preparedness. Many students did not realize the connection between weather and the supplying energy.

The Conservation Foundation held their annual Climate Change Summit. Representatives from the STEM Partnership School were invited to attend. Many of the resources that were shared directly relate to conversations that students are having during their Weather, Climate and the Human Impact unit.

Cabot Microelectronics
Representatives from Cabot Microelectronics spoke with sixth graders about the elements that are used in the creation of a cell phone. Students were amazed to discover the variety of elements used in their smart devices!

John Marek from Caterpillar spoke with seventh grade students about the art of public speaking. He highlighted important characteristics of successful public speakers. STEM Partnership School students pride themselves on effectively communicating their research with a variety of audiences.

STEM Partner Meeting
The STEM Partnership School quarterly STEM Partner Meeting was held in early February. Corporate and nonprofit partners worked with STEM Partnership School teachers to develop plans for the next units of study.
STEM Spring Open House
STEM Spring Open House
STEM Partnership School’s annual Spring Open House was held in early March. This is an opportunity for students to showcase their work and partners to meet with the community. Students were able to share projects ranging from photosynthesis models to video games that were coded with Scratch.
Conservation Foundation
Conservation Foundation
Through The Conservation Foundation’s Mighty Acorns program, STEM Partnership School fifth graders learn about different animal and plant species. The program provides students with the opportunity to visit a forest reserve to learn more about these species in their natural habitat.
Argonne National Laboratories
Eighth grade STEM Partnership School students were able to experience Argonne National Laboratories first hand.
Fox Metro
Fox Metro
Fox Metro Reclamation District representatives demonstrated the water cycle for STEM Partnership School fifth graders. They discussed how their facility turns dirty water clean. Students saw the microscopic life that are the true heroes of natural water filtration.

District/Community Connections

Alumni presentation
As our eighth grade students prepare to register for high school classes back in their district buildings, they have a unique opportunity. Alumni students from each district return to our building to meet with eighth graders. They give our students first-hand advice and information regarding what to expect in high school. Our students ask a myriad of questions to prepare for their high school experience.

On February 27, 2020 parents of current second graders from all four partner districts were invited to attend an informational parent meeting. This outreach opportunity allows us to explain our unique program and gives parents and students the ability to see the school and ask questions before they enter the yearly lottery for registration.

Each winter/early spring our districts host a County-Wide Institute Day. Our teachers attend this event and have the opportunity to share our program and activities with teachers across our counties.

The Illinois Teacher Leadership Summit was held in Bloomington, IL in early May. This summit allows teachers across the state to develop a plan to address a local problem or issue within their district. Teams collaborate and problem solve with a “critical friend” or coach to create an action plan upon returning to their districts. One of our staff members was invited to attend as a critical friend for a team of teachers working on developing K-5 cross-curricular units.

Junior Service Club
Junior Service Club is a co-curricular club for our elementary students. This winter the club organized a Food Drive Spirit Week. In one week, our students donated 641 pounds of food to the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry in Aurora.
MathCounts is a co-curricular opportunity that our middle school students have. The team competes in the DuKane MathCounts Competition. One of our students placed 2nd in the individual round and advanced to the state level where he finished 24th!

If you are interested in learning more about partnerships in school, contact us to learn more:
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