The Center for Talent Development's Midwest Academic Project EXCITE
CTD's Project EXCITE
Project EXCITE

Project EXCITE is a collaborative project involving Northwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy through its Center for Talent Development (CTD), Evanston/Skokie School District 65, and Evanston Township High School (ETHS) District 202. The importance of Project EXCITE to the Evanston community is that it addresses the achievement gap existing between minority and non-minority students in the Evanston schools by providing supplemental educational opportunities for minorities who are under-represented in the advanced mathematics and science courses at ETHS. By the end of grade 8, EXCITE students are expected to have completed Algebra I and be prepared for honors-level high school courses in science and mathematics.

In 1998, in collaboration with teachers from ETHS, the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University began development of Project EXCITE. The first cohort of Project EXCITE third graders was selected during the 2000-2001 school year. During each subsequent year, Project EXCITE has continued to select a cohort of 20-25 under-represented third grade students from five participating District 65 elementary schools (King Lab, Rhodes Magnet, Kingsley, Lincoln and Lincolnwood). EXCITE currently serves between 150- 200 under-represented minority students in grades 3-12.

Project EXCITE is a ten-year program that provides an array of supports and services to minority students including: enrichment classes held after-school, on weekends, and during the summer; tutoring; practice on and preparation for important “gateway” exams for math and high school placement; and educational  and college guidance. Students continue to receive these resources throughout high school.

Project EXCITE serves minority students without regard to family income, intervenes early, and provides an array of supports over a ten-year period. Components of the program have changed over the years as Project EXCITE leaders have learned “what works.” Changes include a focus on reading scores when selecting students for Project EXCITE as well as on science and mathematics scores, and additional tutoring for middle school students who are taking high school level mathematics courses. A cadre of volunteers from the Northwestern community provides this tutoring. Once in high school, students have access to additional academic and college guidance.

With Project EXCITE, Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development (CTD) is setting the standard for an effective, research-backed and replicable initiative aimed at closing the minority student achievement gap and increasing minority student representation in advanced high school math and science courses

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