Smyth Elementary partners with top high school
July 4, 2013

A $400,000 State of Illinois appropriation will allow elementary school pupils at Smyth Magnet School, 1059 W. 13th St., to interact and match wits with students at the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA), the state’s only residential public high school, in Aurora, IL.

State Sen. Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins (D-5th) won passage of the appropriation from the Illinois General Assembly in June. More than a year ago, she visited Smyth at the invitation of some students’ parents and met Principal Ron Whitmore, hearing about his vision for the school. Van Pelt-Watkins said she found a high quality, committed staff at Smyth.

She also saw test scores rising, except for science, and thought about teaming Smyth with the IMSA.

“When I became state senator, I did not forget,” she said, noting she looks forward to math and science scores at Smyth rising.

“We are very excited about what this does for our students in terms of providing opportunities,” said Whitmore. He and the IMSA leadership team will work out details this summer.

Whitmore envisions summer camps and other programs for Smyth students in conjunction with the IMSA, to give them “more options,” he said, adding that Smyth parents most likely will receive invitations to participate in the partnership as well. Some Smyth graduates may be enrolled in the IMSA; upper grade Smyth students already have visited the IMSA, and a former IMSA president has visited Smyth.

IMSA is a three-year residential school offering an advanced college preparatory program. Smyth is an international baccalaureate world school, meaning it offers special international programs designed to help students develop a global perspective. To contact Smyth, call (773) 534-7180.

— Susan S. Stevens