Leaders to talk up Kits and Cats partnerships

Northwestern University next week will host an event to recognize the ways the University and Evanston Township High School partner -- and invites anyone with an affiliation with both institutions to join the celebration.

“Kits and Cats: Collaboration in the 21st Century” begins at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, in the James L. Allen Center, McCormick Auditorium, 2169 Campus Drive, on the Evanston campus.

Those with a connection to both ETHS (the Kits) and to the University (the Cats) are invited to join Northwestern President Morton Schapiro, ETHS Superintendent Eric Witherspoon and Northwestern/ETHS project coordinator Kristen Perkins as they discuss the collaborative relationship between the two institutions.

“We are very pleased to partner with ETHS in a variety of innovative programs," Schapiro said. "ETHS and Northwestern are both important assets to the Evanston community, so we're proud to provide assistance in ways that benefit ETHS students."

“Education is paramount in Evanston,” Witherspoon added. “Northwestern and ETHS are two of the premier schools in the nation. Today we are partnering in new and exciting ways. Kits and Cats celebrates our meaningful collaborations and the value added for our students, faculty and entire community.”

Run by Perkins, the Northwestern/ETHS Partnership Office established in the high school om 2012 has enhanced the relationship between the two schools by promoting the sharing of resources, particularly in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). 

“The office at the high school helps to support our teacher and student learning, increase the number of Northwestern students who come to ETHS to tutor and mentor, maintain the Kits ’n’ Cats program, and much more,” said David Futransky, ETHS community relations and alumni coordinator.

The partnerships also include:

  • Reach for the Stars, which places Northwestern graduate students into ETHS science classrooms for a full academic year;
  • Kits ‘n’ [email protected], a day at Northwestern designed to increase college awareness and access for ETHS students who have not yet decided to attend college;
  • Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), a program in which young women pursuing STEM courses and careers are supported by female Northwestern students and faculty; and
  • the AVID Senior College Experience, in which ETHS seniors are taught a college mini-course designed and implemented by graduate students from  the teaching and learning certificate program at Northwestern’s Searle Center for Advanced Learning and Teaching. 

Northwestern’s Kits and Cats partnerships build on the University’s Good Neighbor, Great University program, which helps motivate Evanston and Chicago Public School students to pursue college and provides scholarships if they elect to come to Northwestern. 

“This event is not only a way to celebrate and reinforce our many partnerships, but also to discover opportunities for new ideas and initiatives,” said Matthew TerMolen, associate vice president of alumni relations and development at Northwestern.

The mutually beneficial ties to both ETHS and Northwestern run deep in the Evanston community, he said. “For Northwestern, we have current students who graduated from ETHS as well as alumni, faculty and staff who have kids that attend ETHS, so it’s an investment in the community and their children,” he said.

Close proximity to Northwestern provides ETHS with access to faculty, programs, labs, facilities and students. In addition to formal partnerships, ETHS students can come to the university for educational assistance or to take advanced courses not offered at the high school. Professors may also provide guidance and expert advice to ETHS teachers.

“Our programs offer kids, who maybe don’t have college at the top of their list, an opportunity to see a university in real life and see themselves as one of our undergraduates,” TerMolen said.

Providing students with an inside look at life as a Wildcat could motivate students to pursue an education beyond high school, he said. “If we have an impact on just one student we’re making a difference.”

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