BoSTEM, a dynamic multi-sector partnership led by Boston After School & Beyond, Citizen Schools, and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, has been selected as one of 27 inaugural communities to participate in the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative. The selected sites have pledged to collaborate and share their work on expanding hands-on STEM learning experiences to young people across the country.
Launched by the STEM Funders Network at the Clinton Global Initiative in Denver, the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative will form a national Community of Practice with expert coaching and support from leaders such as superintendents, scientists, and others. The first gathering of this Community of Practice will be hosted at the White House in November.
Robust partnerships remain at the core of Boston’s STEM ecosystem. BoSTEM connects stakeholders including Boston Public Schools, afterschool and summer programs, corporate partners, and STEM-focused institutions. BoSTEM has the bold goal of closing the STEM opportunity gap for all Boston middle school students by the year 2020. In order to increase access to quality STEM experiences, BoSTEM invests in the infrastructure that links students to all of the places where they learn—home, school, summer and afterschool programs, museums and libraries, higher education institutions, and businesses. The shared vision among these organizations is that Boston youth should be able to experience the city’s vibrant STEM resources, and that these experiences will spark the interest necessary to pursue and excel in these critical subject areas.
Boston’s STEM ecosystem is powered by a unified agenda that aims to increases rigor, relevance, and real world connections in students’ learning experiences. Through the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative, Boston After School & Beyond aims to deepen collaboration with BPS on hands-on STEM learning, and to codify a system of badges based on the pilot with STEM programs. Current STEM collaborations include the Boston Area STEM Network, the Frontiers in Urban Science Exploration (FUSE) initiative, and digital badging.
Knowing that the jobs of the future demand greater background knowledge, exposure, and interest in the STEM fields, Boston is eager to step up to the plate and double down on its commitment to expanding STEM learning opportunities across the city. In the upcoming year, Boston looks forward to participating this exciting opportunity to transform how students learn and how educators teach, with the objectives of ensuring true STEM learning equity for all of our children.