From February 10-11, Boston After School & Beyond hosted seven cities and esteemed guests for the Frontiers in Urban Science Exploration (FUSE 3.0) Winter Institute, convened by Every Hour Counts. Forty-five leaders in youth development, education, and informal science gathered together to share their thinking on how infuse STEM learning in-and out-of-school with social-emotional skill-building and the practices detailed in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
Participating city partners included ExpandED
Schools in New York City, the Providence After School Alliance, Chicago’s After School Matters,the Nashville After Zone Alliance, Family Leagueof Baltimore, Prime Time Palm Beach County, and Boston After School & Beyond.
Also in attendance were Penny Noyce, Co-Founding Trustee of the Noyce Foundation, and Ron Ottinger, Director of STEM Next, a national leader in increasing opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning for youth across communities both in and out of school.
One of the key strategies discussed at the Summit is how city teams are creating joint professional development and collaboration opportunities that bring together K-12 teachers with after-school and other informal STEM educators. Cary Sneider, leader of the engineering group on the NGSS writing team, appointed member of the National Assessment Governing Board, and science consultant for STEM Next, led part of the discussion.
The Boston delegation was well-represented at this two-day event. Ellen Dickenson from Boston After School & Beyond presented on the background and development of BoSTEM — a dynamic multi-sector collaborative that aims to close the STEM opportunity gap for all Boston middle school students by the year 2020. She was joined by Olga Feingold from Thompson Island Outward Bound and Josh Waxman from the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, who sat on a panel to provide insights into what the FUSE model looks like in practice. Emily Duncan from MathPOWER shared a successful lesson plan on creating an interactive Fraction Marketplace to demonstrate how out-of-school programs can connect NGSS and math/computational thinking. Katie Tosh and David McAuley from Boston After School & Beyond facilitated a lunchtime discussion on promoting social-emotional learning through STEM professional development.
In 2010, ExpandED Schools and Every Hour Counts launched the FUSE project with support from the Noyce Foundation. The project aims to scale access to high-quality STEM learning for kids in out-of-school time programs, building off lessons piloted in New York City by ExpandED Schools. In 2014, the FUSE project published a resource guide of strategies to advance informal science education in after-school, and is now leading six organizations from across the country in connecting out-of-school and in-school STEM learning with the Next Generation Science Standards.
Boston, Providence, Chicago and New York City are also part of the first cohort of the STEM Ecosystems Initiative, supported by STEM Next and the STEM Funders Network. The ecosystems work – intentionally connecting STEM learning experiences for kids across a full range of settings – in and out of school, at home, in community-based settings, online and in the workforce – dovetails nicely with the FUSE project.
In mid-March, Boston will continue these rich discussions at the STEM Ecosystem Initiative’s Community of Practice Convening in Chicago, alongside 26 other inaugural cities. BoSTEM partners in attendance will include:
- Ellen Dickenson, Director, Partnerships & STEM, Boston After School & Beyond
- Arthur Pearson, President and CEO, Thompson Island Outward Bound
- Pam Pelletier, Director, K-12 Science & Technology/Engineering, Boston Public Schools
- Josh Waxman, Director of Community Impact, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley