Boston’s Chief of Economic Development John Barros addressed the city’s STEM corporations and STEM-focused youth programs on February 8th, emphasizing the role that STEM expertise among teachers and programs plays in preparing Boston’s young people for tomorrow’s STEM careers.
This address followed the BoSTEM Community of Practice, in which STEM-focused youth programs and members of Boston’s STEM business community convened to review initial data for the BoSTEM initiative.
Launched by Boston Beyond and the United Way in 2015, BoSTEM is a bold collaboration between high performing nonprofits, local corporations, and community leaders dedicated to inspiring and preparing Boston students for the STEM careers of the future. BoSTEM cultivates a learning ecosystem that provides Boston’s middle school students with meaningful STEM experiences to improve their aspirations toward careers in STEM fields, their social and emotional skills, and their academic achievement. The initiative connects students in grades 6-8 with opportunities to engage in hands-on STEM learning outside of the classroom, and understand the real-world context for these STEM concepts through onsite learning experiences at STEM corporations in Boston.
At the Community of Practice, BoSTEM partners shared insights into how they are using data to inform their work with students. One example came from MGH Youth Programs, who found their data showed students reporting less competence from the beginning to the end of the program, but their mentors reporting definite improvement in student competence and confidence. MGH staff asked themselves how they could support mentors in better communicating progress to their students, and helped them implement strategies including naming the positive qualities they witnessed and praising students for efforts and growth. Staff also provided mentors with “growth mindset” language for talking to students when mistakes occur, how they can learn from them, and more.
Following this share-out, program partners reviewed their program data with members of Boston’s STEM corporate community, who participate on BoSTEM’s Advisory Council. This enabled programs to gain critical insights from the city’s STEM employers, who may eventually hire their students and who seek specific skills in their future employees.
To learn more about the BoSTEM initiative, please click here.