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William Brown Elementary is one of three schools that Chicago plans to convert to STEM magnet campuses.

Chicago announces plans for elementary schools focused on STEM and classical education

Three existing schools will be converted to STEM magnets, and two new "classical" schools will open.

The Chicago school system has announced a plan to transform three neighborhood schools into magnet schools and open two new selective-enrollment classical schools.

CBS Chicago reports that the new schools are to help meet demand for rigorous elementary programming.

“Chicago Public Schools students are leading the country in academic gains, and these new STEM Magnet and classical schools will help continue to grow that record progress,” says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Across Chicago, we are expanding quality school options, ensuring every student has access to a world-class academic experience and providing every family with a range of quality options for their children.”

A $15 million federal grant will help the district create the three magnet STEM schools. They are William H. Brown Elementary School, Claremont Academy Elementary School and Joseph Jungman Elementary School.

Chicago Schools CEO Forrest Claypool says that although the three schools have served their communities well, the students deserve more diversity in their academic offerings.

“The path to college and a rewarding career begins at a young age, and high quality programs like the ones announced today will help our students realize their vast potential,” Claypool says. “Every family in Chicago deserves accessible, high quality options, and these investments will help make that a reality for even more of our families.”

The district also plans to open two new classical schools — one in the Bronzeville neighborhood and one on the Southwest side. The program in these schools is accelerated and highly structured for strong academic achievement in literature, mathematics, language arts, world language, and the humanities.

Chicago has five high-demand classical schools throughout the city now, but more than 1,000 students who qualified to enroll in a classical school this year did not receive an offer.

With the two new classical schools, the hope is more students in those areas will have an opportunity to enroll.

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