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Mather Tech Teacher Wins $10K for School as More CPS Kids Learn to Code

By Ted Cox | December 12, 2014 8:54am
 Mather High School in West Rogers Park.
Mather High School in West Rogers Park.
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DNAinfo/Justin Breen

PETERSON PARK — Mather High School is celebrating the end of Chicago Public Schools' Computer Science Education Week by collecting a $10,000 prize from top internet firms.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was expected to be at the school, at 5835 N. Lincoln Ave., Friday morning to mark the citywide growth of computer science and to praise teacher Brenda Remess.

Remess is largely credited with winning Mather a $10,000 prize from Code.org, a nonprofit agency funded by firms like Google and Facebook to promote computer education. Remess and Mather are part of a program involving 57,000 students citywide in a national "Hour of Code" initiative, and they claimed the $10,000 prize for Illinois by registering a full complement of 250 students, freshman through seniors, in the program, according to the Mayor's Office.

The mayor finished off Computer Science Education Week by drawing attention to how CPS had almost tripled the number of students taking computer science, from 6,000 last year to 17,000 this year, through a new districtwide Computer Science 4 All program encouraging computer study. It aspires to expand computer courses to all schools, not just Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs, and to make computer science mandatory for high-school graduation by 2019.

"By increasing access to computer science and STEM opportunities, we are providing our students with the knowledge and resources necessary to succeed," Emanuel said in a statement. "The City of Chicago continues to lead the nation in addressing our nation's deficit of computer scientists and is preparing to give our students access to great jobs and a successful future. Beyond STEM careers, our children are learning key skills needed for success in college, career, and life: problem-solving, confidence, and understanding the world around them."

About 160 Chicago schools are registered for the "Hour of Code" program, and 50 are part of a separate Microsoft IT Academy program, which sets up a comprehensive plan for students, teachers and administrators to build up computer education.

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