Kick-Off Event Highlights Success of Citywide Initiative and Adds Four New Partners Advancing STEM Programming & Access to Nearly 10,000 students by 2022 in grades 6-8.
BOSTON – United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley today announced it is awarding $100,000 to four new community partners to support the expansion of BoSTEM, a citywide initiative aimed at providing students in grades 6-8 who are typically underrepresented in STEM careers access and opportunities in these fields.
A collaboration among the United Way, Boston Public Schools and Boston After School and Beyond, BoSTEM aligns out of school time partners with in-school programming giving students a more dynamic learning experience. Today’s event was keynoted by Penny Noyce, a doctor, educator and writer who helped establish the Noyce Foundation in honor of her father, Robert Noyce, co-inventor of the integrated circuit and co-founder of Intel. Noyce today announced a donation of 2,000 copies of her book “Inventors, Markers, Barrier Breakers” to students participating in BoSTEM programs.
“United Way is proud to celebrate the success of the BoSTEM initiative and add new partners that will allow more students a chance to experience careers and ideas beyond the walls of their classroom,” said Karley Ausiello, Senior Vice President for Community Impact at United Way at today’s event at the Dearborn STEM Academy in Roxbury. “This innovative program unlocks the potential of so many otherwise underrepresented young people and we couldn’t be more excited to provide this opportunity to more students in Boston.”
“The integration of STEM among schools, out-of-school-time programs and industry partners is critical to our efforts to create more opportunities to engage Boston Public School students in STEM education and thinking,” said Chris Smith, President and Executive Director at Boston After School & Beyond. “We’re proud of the progress we have made in our first year and are confident in our ability to expand BoSTEM to reach more students.”
This past year, through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, BoSTEM was able to work with eight out-of-school time program partners: Citizen Schools, CitySprouts, Community Boating, Latino STEM Alliance, Breakthrough Greater Boston, Mass General Hospital’s Center for Community Health Improvement, Sociedad Latina and Thompson Island, who collectively served over 1,200 students from 22 different Boston Public Schools with almost 3,000 hours of programming.
Today, United Way announced the expansion of the program to four new partners: Courageous Sailing, East Boston Social Centers, HMS MEDScience and West End House. These new partners will work collaboratively with schools across the district as well as corporate and business leaders to create more out-of-school time programming for students.
The event also featured a panel discussion that highlighted how business industry partners can play a role in advancing STEM education and the opportunities and challenges that educators and out-of-school-time staff face in engaging middle school students in STEM. The panel included Rahn Dorsey, Chief of Education, City of Boston; Makeeba McCreary, Office of External Affairs, Boston Public Schools; Jonathan LoPorto, Educator, Dearborn STEM Academy; and Christy Egun, Director of Boston Partnerships, Massachusetts General Hospital.
Henry Nsang, Assistant Superintendent and Senior Project Engineer at Janey, Inc. and Lynda Callahan, Project Manager at Gilbane, spoke about their partnership in the construction of the Dearborn STEM Academy, and how they’ve leveraged their partnership to expose students to STEM careers through the construction industry.
As part of the $100,000 in funding and the addition of four new program partners BoSTEM will also provide more benefits free of charge such as:
- Access to Defined STEM, a curriculum supplement that provides hands-on engaging activities aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, and is focused on career exploration for all Boston Public Schools
- Expanded access to field trips beyond the current partners to STEM companies and other programs.
- Better alignment between in-school and out-of-school curricula with the BPS Science Department
- Curating resources and best practices to assist all partners
The BoSTEM citywide initiative launched in 2015, is subject to an independent evaluation over the next four years to ensure the effectiveness of a research-based model that can be scaled beyond Boston. To date, programs were above benchmark scores for the majority of indicators. Over 80% of students who participated in corporate field trips reported an increased interest and motivation for both studying STEM and pursuing a career in the field.
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Photo credits: Boston After School & Beyond