Organizational Handbook - Part One

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[Role and Duties of the Citywide STEM Exhibition Council]
[Role and Duties of the Regional STEM Exhibition Committee]
[Role and Duties of the School Coordinator]


Part One: Committee Structures and Functions

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Role and Duties of the City STEM Exhibition Council
The City STEM Exhibition Council is composed of representatives selected by the Area Instructional Officer from each Area of the Chicago Public Schools, the Executive Committee of the city STEM Exhibition, and the chairpersons of standing committees. The general duty of the Area representatives is to coordinate the activities of all the preliminary exhibitions leading up to the 3021 virtual citywide ExhibitionThe council is presided over by the executive chairperson who serves for two years.

The specific duties and responsibilities of the City STEM Exhibition Council are to:

  • Conduct the annual Chicago Public Schools Student STEM Exhibition, the Student Science Symposium, and the Annual Scholarship Program, and administer the Independent Research Grant Program.
  • Maintain communication with the Chief Education Officer of the Chicago Public Schools; the corporate sponsor for the current school year; and Illinois Tech.

Recommendations of the City STEM Exhibition Council are submitted to the Executive Chairperson for policy decisions affecting the operation of the activities of the corporation.

A Board of Directors representing business, industry, academic, the school district administration, and Illinois Tech work with the Executive Committee to develop policy and to raise funds for the activities of the Student STEM Exhibition.

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Role and Duties of the Area STEM Exhibition Committee
Under the guidance of the Instructional Officers, a selected group of school administrators and teachers determine the STEM Exhibition program in the Area.  All policies and procedures that are developed must be compatible with the city STEM Exhibition guidelines. Students coming to the city STEM Exhibition must have participated in a Chicago regional STEM Exhibition.

Specific duties and responsibilities of the Area STEM Exhibition Committee and chairperson are to:

  • Use the STEM Exhibition Handbook to determine categories, physical requirements, safety regulations, and performance procedures.
  • Enforce the ruling that all high school exhibits are individual projects.
  • Enforce the ruling that elementary school projects may have no more than two students per project and encourage individual projects.
  • Limit elementary school participation to students in grades 6-8 at the regional fair. Students in grades 4 and 5 should only exhibit if space is available. Priority should be given to students in grades 7 and 8 when space is limited since they have an opportunity to compete at the citywide STEM Exhibition.
  • Limit selection to students in grades 7-12 for entry to the citywide STEM Exhibition at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Select no more than the designated number of outstanding projects from the grade 6 participants in each Area for a special program to be arranged on Saturday during the city STEM Exhibition. Submit the exhibitor's credentials along with other applications. Clearly label this application form "Special Luncheon". The student(s) will not exhibit the project at the city STEM Exhibition.

Obtain from the Chairperson of the Credentials Committee the Area quota of projects which may be sent to the city STEM Exhibition at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Cooperate with the other district committees concerning the scheduling of STEM Exhibitions. Submit an early decision of STEM Exhibition dates to the Chairperson of the Credentials Committee. Area fairs must be completed before February 1.

Obtain the following supplies or forms through the Office of Mathematics and Science:

  • award certificates
  • human endorsement request *
  • laser registration forms
  • microorganism endorsement request *
  • official entry forms
  • Organizational Handbooks
  • STEM Exhibition Handbooks
  • posters
  • recap sheets
  • recombinant DNA endorsement request *
  • ribbons and seals
  • scholarship applications
  • vertebrate animal endorsement request *

Entry Forms There is one Official Entry Form. Use the current entry form only. This form should be used for the Area fair. See the Calendar of Events for the deadline date. If the project is selected to go to the city fair, the entry form should be sent in at the close of the Area fair. A copy of the entry form should be kept at the Area Office.

Recap Sheets A Recap Sheet will be sent to each Area STEM Exhibition chairperson along with other information and procedures for submitting the names of the STEM Exhibition winners from the Area.  This Recap Sheet is to be completed in duplicate. Complete all requested information and send the original Recap Sheet along with the official entry forms. One copy is to be retained by the Area STEM Exhibition chairperson. Attach a copy of the Abstract, Endorsement (if applicable), and Consent Form and Release to each entry form. Send the original Recap Sheet, Official Entry Forms, Abstracts, Endorsement(s) (if applicable) and Consent Form and Releases via the General Service Route (formerly mail run) or hand deliver to:

Citywide STEM Exhibition Coordinator

Posters An attractive poster has been designed for display in classrooms, study halls, and science laboratories. The graphics appearing on the poster are aimed at encouraging students who are interested in science and mathematics to enter their research work in the STEM Exhibition program.

Award Certificates, Ribbons, and Seals An ample quantity of these awards are made available so that all STEM Exhibition participants at the regional STEM Exhibition are awarded one of the following ribbon designations: Outstanding, Excellent, or Honorable Mention.

Scholarship Applications Seniors who are graduating from Chicago public high schools are eligible to apply for scholarships, provided they are participating in or have participated in the Chicago Public Schools Student STEM Exhibition activities at the regional level or city level. This includes projects, symposiums and/or the essay contests. Scholarships are both monetary awards and college and university scholarships. Scholarship forms are sent to every high school science department chairperson and to the guidance department. These forms are also in the appendix of the STEM Exhibition Handbook.

Handbooks Quantities of the STEM Exhibition Handbook and the Organizational Handbook (for coordinators, administrators, and teachers have been allocated to each school. The Calendar of Events for the entire year is included in the Organizational Handbook. Each student selected to participate in the city STEM Exhibition should be given a STEM Exhibition Handbook. Students selected to participate in the state STEM Exhibition and the International Science and Engineering Fair will receive those respective handbooks.

Vertebrate Animal Endorsement Forms * Projects which utilize vertebrates must include a Non-Human Vertebrate Animal Endorsement or Humans as Test Subjects Endorsement form completed according to the directives contained in the STEM Exhibition Handbook and must follow all rules. The Scientific Review Committee will approve or disapprove all requests for permission to participate in vertebrate research. If a Vertebrate Animal Endorsement or Human Endorsement is issued, it must accompany the Official Entry Form. A copy must be included in the student's research paper.

Microorganism Endorsement Forms * Projects which utilize microorganisms not on the approved list must include a Microorganism Endorsement. A form to request this certificate is found in the Participants Handbook, should be completed according to the directives contained in the STEM Exhibition Handbook, and must adhere to all rules. This certificate must accompany the Official Entry Form. The Scientific Review Committee issues the endorsement.

Recombinant DNA Endorsement Forms * All research involving recombinant DNA techniques must meet the requirements of the National Institute of Health guidelines for research involving recombinant DNA molecules. Such studies must only be conducted in a registered research laboratory under the guidance of a biomedical scientist who is approved to conduct such studies by an appropriately constituted and registered Biosafety Committee and who is approved by the Scientific Review Committee of Science Fair, Inc. A form to request this certificate is found in the STEM Exhibition Handbook. This certificate must accompany the Official Entry Form.

Laser Registration Forms All lasers at the local, regional, and city levels must be registered with the State of Illinois. Obtain registration forms from:

Kristian Coerper
Kenwood  Academy
GSR #41

Selection of Exhibits for the City STEM Exhibition Projects chosen at the Area STEM Exhibition should be selected from the projects which were rated as outstanding. Only projects which exhibit independent research should be sent to the city STEM Exhibition. The project should involve a controlled experiment and not simply be a "show and tell" type of display.

Each Area fair is encouraged to send the best representative exhibitors to the city STEM Exhibition. The quota of projects received from the Chairperson of the Credentials Committee is the only limiting factor. No consideration should be given to the distribution of the exhibitors among the categories. In all cases, the best projects should be selected regardless of the category, grade, or school of the students.

If an Area STEM Exhibition does not use all of its quota, or if a STEM Exhibition needs more than the assigned quota because of the number of outstanding projects, the regional fair chairperson should contact the Chairperson of the Credentials Committee. (See this page)

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Role and Duties of the School Coordinator
Principals are to designate a school STEM Exhibition coordinator to represent the school at Area STEM Exhibition meetings and coordinate the school STEM Exhibition.  School coordinators are responsible for the following:

  • Instill in students an interest in research and indicate the intrinsic values that can be derived from independent investigations.
  • Point out that the STEM Exhibition and the science symposium and essay contests present opportunities for further student independent study.
  • Indicate that the sharing of ideas with other students and leading scientists at city, state, and national levels is the cornerstone of these programs.
  • Assist students in selecting and developing their ideas for research projects and/or scientific papers. Where possible, make available resource information in the form of books, periodicals, and physical equipment.
  • Discuss with the students how to develop a project and show results of past research projects.
  • Distribute a STEM Exhibition Handbook to those who show promise.
  • Assist in research grant applications and Advise-a- Student applications when projects meet the criteria.
  • Arrange periodic small group discussions of progress on projects and provide opportunities to analyze and solve problems related to individual projects.
  • Help students obtain and share equipment and supplies while determining that each project meets the safety requirements as outlined in the STEM Exhibition Handbook.
  • Solicit the cooperation of other faculty members for facilities and services helpful in the guidance of students in their research and in the writing of their research papers.
  • Determine, along with the principal, teachers, and students, the method of selecting projects for advancement to the regional fair, using the guidelines of the city STEM Exhibition found in the STEM Exhibition Handbook.
  • Cooperate with the Area STEM Exhibition Committees. See that students are prepared and that current student entry forms are completely filled out and submitted on time.
  • Review with students requirements for the Area fairs and the city STEM Exhibition.
  • Inform high school seniors of the scholarship program.
  • Encourage participation of younger students by explaining the program and the eligibility requirements.
Endorsement requests MUST be made PRIOR to experimentation in order to ensure the safety of the test subject(s) and/or the scientist.  The project plans are reviewed by the Scientific Review Committee and, if safe, the endorsement is granted and the experiment may be carried out.  Permission to carry out an experiment CANNOT be given to one that has already been completed.

To insure that you are using the latest endorsement forms you should clear your browser's cache before viewing any of the endorsements.  (See these instructions.)

Most of the items may be submitted electronically (see below) and only one copy needs to be submitted.   HOWEVER, if they are printed and subsequently mailed in, TWO copies are required.

Depending on the browser you are using, you may need to save the form and then open it with Adobe Reader X (or better), type in the information, print and sign it, scan it and then send the scanned in image electronically by attaching it to an e-mail message.  Note that only one copy is needed if the form is submitted via e-mail.

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