The Science and Math Excellence (SAME) Network is a large-scale community service enterprise operated by the Department of Community Affairs at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. The SAME Network was developed in response to the low science, math and reading test scores in Chicago schools in surrounding neighborhoods.
Formed in 1990, the SAME Network provides students in these neighborhoods with the same opportunities to learn math and science as are available to their peers in more affluent areas. At the time of its formation, Rush Community Affairs staff spearheaded the SAME Network’s first effort to improve education in the area by raising funds from the community to build state-of-the-art science laboratories in local schools that lacked these facilities. Since then, the SAME Network has grown into a collaborative between Rush University Medical Center and 45 elementary schools, six high schools and many Chicago-area businesses.
Since 1990, the SAME Network has worked tirelessly to coordinate distinctive programs to improve academic performance of students in the areas of science, math and technology as well as support teachers and parents in a multi-tiered collaboration with over 50 schools and community organizations. The SAME Network provides rare opportunities for Chicago’s disadvantaged students in accordance with consistent goals:
- Encourage science, math and technology education in Chicago schools and communities
- Support teachers by providing professional development for teaching science, math, technology and literacy
- Develop a science, math and technology institution that serves Chicago students
General descriptions of programs offered are provided below.
For a copy of the SAME Network brochure (in PDF format) go to “Related Topics” on the right-hand side of this page.
Rush University Medical Center is proud of the initiatives undertaken by the SAME Network to boost student achievement and lay a foundation to promote life-long learning. One of the most prominent programs, the Preschool Program, considered a cutting-edge instructional approach, was introduced in 1998. The program’s goal is to create an inviting, child-centered environment that enables very young children to explore science, integrating math and technology, while using a developmentally appropriate curriculum that emphasizes inquiry and hands-on learning.
Basic components of this program include construction of a functioning science lab stocked with an abundance of resources. Teachers receive sequential professional development to utilize equipment and curriculum appropriate for young learners. Parents enjoy workshops to promote science and math exploration in the home. With the cooperation of corporate partners and a generous grant from a major research institution, Rush University Medical Center’s SAME Network has assembled 23 preschool labs reaching over 7,000 students that undoubtedly has enhanced student learning.
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The Educator Program, the SAME Network’s most vital program to elementary school outreach efforts, provides professional development to teachers in grades PreK-8 in a variety of formats including workshops, coaching, field experiences, focus groups and technical training. Aligned with national and state teaching standards, SAME Network professional development activities presented in the Educator Program are designed to provide teachers with meaningful and relevant experiences to augment their practice. Through this program, teachers will have access to state-of-the-art science equipment to expand hands-on instruction. Over the next year, the SAME Network will expand the range of equipment available for loan by providing technological devices to enhance science exploration.
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College Preparatory Enrichment Program
The College Preparatory Enrichment Program (CPEP) will offer students in grades six through eight an opportunity to participate in year-round after-school and summer learning activities. Students are accepted in the program as sixth graders and they are retained until they enter high school, at which time they matriculate to the High School Internship Program provided they meet minimum requirements. The goal of CPEP is to provide participants with equitable access to opportunities to excel in science at an international level. The SAME Network believes that by exposing students to science while integrating math and technology, students will gain increased confidence in their own abilities to perform related tasks, ultimately improving their academic achievements and encouraging more students to enter into science-related careers. Participants enter the program in grade six and the application period for acceptance begins in October. Go to the CPEP application guidelines page to download the SAME Network College Preparatory Enrichment Program Application for 2007-2008.
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High School Internship Program
The High School Internship Program is yet another successful initiative. Annually, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago accepts an average of 30 high school students to paid internships in various departments throughout the year.
For the past 20 years, Rush University Medical Center has supported over 300 students in their pursuit of academic and career goals by providing a venue to explore and improve personal and academic endeavors. Over 80 percent of the participants in high school internship program are accepted and enroll in institutions of higher learning, continuing on a career path relative to the field of science, math or more specifically, health.
During the summer of 2008, 13 high school students interned in departments such as occupational therapy/physical therapy, core labs and ambulatory surgery. The application period for this program varies.
Information regarding the High School Internship Program for 2008-2009 will be available in October.
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Medical Center Engineering High School Internship Program
In 2005, the SAME Network developed a new component of the High School Internship Program, designed for junior and senior high school students, in conjunction with Rush University Medical Center Engineering (MCE). Medical Center Engineering High School Interns work as assistants during the first shift, Monday through Friday, under the direct instruction of engineers from various shops: Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical, Electronics, Carpenter, Paint and Inventory. MCE High School Interns receive extensive hands-on training during the school year to boost reading, math, science and technology skills needed to enter the trades.
Go to the Medical Center Engineering High School Internship page to download the SAME Network High School Internship Program Application for 2007-2008.
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College Internship Program
The College Program is designed to provide support to students as they matriculate through college. Eligible students receive scholarship assistance.
The students are given an opportunity to work at Rush University Medical Center in an area close to their related career choice. Students return from colleges across the United States during the holiday season and summer break to learn, work and interact with patients, peers and management. Students earn money that helps them pay for some of their college and living expenses.
College students receive mentoring through preceptor relationships with professionals at Rush University Medical Center. Students are matched with preceptors that work in an occupation that the students would like to work in after graduation.
In addition, the SAME Network currently provides tuition assistance to10 college students in addition to the paid internship, contributing over $50,000 annually to off-set the cost of a college education.
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If you have questions about the SAME Network or any of its programs, simply contact one of our staff members: