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AU STEM school to hold three parent information sessions

AURORA — Three information sessions for parents interested in sending their children to a new partnership school focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics at Aurora University are scheduled to be held over the next three weeks.

The John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School will serve 150 students in third to eighth grade, with 50 students each coming from West Aurora, East Aurora and Indian Prairie school districts. The $12 million building that will house the school is under construction and is slated to open on Aurora University’s campus in August.

In late February and early March the three districts’ school boards voted to approve an agreement with Aurora University to operate the school. The districts are paying about $1.1 million annually to cover the cost of student instruction, transportation and teachers’ salaries and Aurora University is paying about $790,000 for building and maintenance costs. Parents will not have to pay additional funds to send their children to the school

The information sessions will be held: March 25 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in West Aurora High School’s cafeteria; March 26 from 7 to 8 p.m. in Indian Prairie’s Crouse Education center board room; and April 3 from 6 to 7 p.m. in East Aurora High School’s auditorium.

The information sessions — the presentation will be the same at each location — will provide parents with information about how the STEM school works, what students will study, how students can apply and how students will be selected.

While each district is using the same baseline criteria to select students to attend the STEM school, the process will vary from district to district because not all schools use the same student assessments.

Parents can ask questions and get answers during a session that will be conducted in English and Spanish after the presentation.

Allison Sherman, the STEM school’s director, will lead the information sessions. As school director, Sherman’s responsibilities are similar to those of a building principal.

The state law that allows the partnership school to operate is in the process of being amended to let the school run with three districts after Oswego School District 308’s School Board voted not to send 50 students to the school.

The law originally stated that four districts would send students to the partnership school, but an amendment recently passed the Illinois House that would permit two or more districts to send students. As of Thursday, the amendment was in the Senate’s Assignments Committee, which decides if the bill will be passed along to a Senate committee and if so, which one.

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