Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

IMSA Receives $75,000 Grant from Motorola Foundation

The IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education ( received a $75,000 Innovation Generation Grant from the Motorola Foundation to help spark Illinois students’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

Teachers at the Miles Davis Magnet Academy for Children's Engineering in Chicago participate in an IMSA Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Design Institute. 

IMSA President Dr. Glenn “Max” McGee gratefully thanked the Motorola Foundation for their continued support and generous gift, which will enable IMSA to continue  providing advanced Problem-Based Learning (PBL) professional development for teachers in Central and Southern Illinois, the city of Chicago and Rockford and to launch introductory PBL workshops for teachers in a new site.  

“Thanks to this third consecutive Innovation Generation Grant from the Motorola Foundation, IMSA’s Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Initiative will continue to provide advanced professional development sessions for teachers from 23 K-12 schools in Central and Southern Illinois, Rockford and Chicago schools,” McGee said.  “In addition, Motorola’s grant will enable IMSA to continue expanding its PBL professional development to a new site in Illinois and increase its statewide pool of PBL workshop facilitators, bringing the power of problem-based learning to more underserved and underrepresented areas of the state,” he added.

IMSA’s PBL Initiative, funded by this Innovation Generation Grant, will provide advanced PBL Design Institutes, PBL Coaching Institutes or a Facilitator Academy to Springfield and Carterville area schools in Central and Southern Illinois, selected Chicago Public Schools and Rockford schools, in addition to providing professional development to a new Illinois site in the summer of 2010.

Teachers learn how to incorporate the Illinois Learning Standards into designing, implementing and evaluating classroom units that address problems that affect their community (see  Problem-Based Learning is a powerful educational model that organizes curriculum and instruction around carefully crafted situations adapted from real-world issues.  

The Motorola Foundation’s Innovation Generation grants support programs that engage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to build the confidence and skills they need for success both now and in the long-term.  In 2009, the Motorola Foundation is providing $5 million in grants to support out-of-school programming, teacher training, curriculum development and other programs that spark students’ interest in STEM.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs requiring science, engineering, or technical training will increase 24 percent to 6.3 million between 2004 and 2014, creating greater demand for critical thinkers fluent in technology.  

The Problem-Based Learning Initiative is one of several programs IMSA provides for teachers and students throughout Illinois to help ensure that Illinois’ young students, especially the historically underrepresented, have opportunities to excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  

“Innovation Generation programs make science and math both real and fun for today’s students, bringing to life what they hear from their teachers every day,” said Eileen Sweeney, director of the Motorola Foundation. “The work IMSA is doing to engage students in these subjects will help our next generation to succeed in a global, knowledge-based economy where critical thinking is no longer just a benefit, but a necessity.”

Since 2007, the Motorola Foundation has contributed $15 million in grants to a variety of programs that draw students closer to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  For a complete list of grant recipients, visit

The internationally recognized Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy® (IMSA) develops creative, ethical leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  As a teaching and learning laboratory created by the State of Illinois, IMSA enrolls academically talented Illinois students (grades 10-12) in its advanced, residential college preparatory program, and it serves thousands of educators and students in Illinois and beyond through innovative instructional programs that foster imagination and inquiry. IMSA also advances education through research, groundbreaking ventures and strategic partnerships. (

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