BoSTEM: New Partnership to Close STEM Achievement Gap

bostem145% of the job postings in the Boston area require STEM skills, regardless of the company posting them.  Yet 69% of Massachusetts employers report difficulty in finding employees with the right skills. It is our responsibility, our imperative, to work together to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s workforce.

Boston has committed to a five-year campaign to give all middle-school students access to high-quality STEM experiences. With the goal of creating a model that can be replicated nationally, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, BPS Superintendent Dr. Tommy Chang, and leaders from Vextex, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, Citizen Schools, and Boston After School & Beyond have announced “BoSTEM,” a new multi-sector partnership to provide all Boston public middle-school students with a high-quality STEM learning experience by 2020.

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Today, these hands-on STEM learning opportunities are only available to six percent of Boston students through extracurricular programming. By 2020, BoSTEM hopes to reach 10,000 Boston Public Schools (BPS) middle-school students annually in a mix of both in-school and out-of-school settings.

It is increasingly clear that young people need a set of skills to succeed in school, college, work, and life. The hands-on nature of STEM programs enable students to make real-world connections to academic content and to develop vital social-emotional skills that are necessary for future success.

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Through the BoSTEM Expanded Learning Project, 6 nonprofit organizations are currently partnering with 7 Boston schools to bring classroom math and science learning to life in the world outside of school through hands-on projects for over 1,000 students. Educators from these nonprofits work closely with classroom teachers to design and deliver programs that are grounded in NGSS Science & Engineering Practices and strong youth development in order to boost their students’ interest in STEM and non-cognitive skills.

BOSTEM’S 6 NONPROFIT PARTNERS IN THIS SCHOOL YEAR WORK ARE:

The work of BoSTEM is part of a national movement to provide young people with more opportunities to plug into engaging and relevant STEM learning experiences throughout their communities. BoSTEM is a partner of US2020, an initiative to mobilize and support corporate volunteers in mentoring young people and illuminating career paths in STEM fields, as well as the STEM Ecosystems Initiative, which supports building student-centered networks of STEM learning opportunities throughout cities. Both initiatives bring the best thinking from STEM hot spots across the country to Boston and help BoSTEM’s growing list of partners in all sectors continue to push the boundaries of when, where, what, how, and from whom young people learn.

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