Boston, MA

Opportunities in Boston, MA

We are Boston

About Us

BoSTEM is a bold new collaboration of proven STEM education leaders dedicated to closing the STEM inspiration and achievement gap for all Boston middle school students by 2020. Boston After School & Beyond (BASB), Citizen Schools, United Way of Massachusetts Bay/Merrimack Valley (UWMB) and US2020 have joined together to bring their collective expertise, experience, and resources to bear on engaging Boston’s middle school youth to get inspired about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Our goal is to broaden their horizons about career pathways in STEM and to encourage them to be engaged learners, so they will graduate high school with aspirational goals for continued and lifelong success.

The moment it came together

In Rising Above the Gathering Storm (2005) the National Academy of Sciences reported “that the scientific and technological building blocks critical to the economic leadership of the United States were eroding … when other nations were actively laying strong foundations in these same areas.” A follow-up report in 2010 found the situation has worsened. According to the Boston STEM Network’s State of STEM Report (2013 forthcoming), the interest in science and math of Boston’s eighth grade students, as reported on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is not as strong as that of their counterparts in grade 4. This drop in interest in science and math during the middle school years indicates the absence of opportunities for Boston’s middle school students to participate in high quality STEM mentoring programs and STEM enrichment in general. This reasoning is further supported by findings reported by the Program in Afterschool, Education, & Resiliency (PEAR) at the October, 2013 Boston STEM Network meeting, that there is a positive correlation between the quality of a STEM program, as assessed by the Dimensions of Success observation tool, and the increase in its students’ interest in science and STEM careers. These reports also indicate that there is a lack of coordination throughout the Boston STEM learning ecosystem: there exist a few high-quality mentoring programs, but not a vehicle for disseminating best practices more broadly. This must change. By excelling in STEM subjects, Boston middle school students can make themselves sought-after employees in the workforce, and bring themselves out of poverty. They will make the U.S. the strong, innovative, competitive nation again. But they need our help. No one person, organization, or agency alone can re-ignite a passion for the sciences in our students. Success will take a strong, dedicated, knowledgeable coalition deeply committed to the mission. For the City of Boston, BoSTEM is that coalition.

Why we decided to participate

The Greater Boston area is highlighted on Boston.com as "one of the most vibrant innovation clusters in the world, especially in the sectors of life sciences, computer science, and energy." STEM has become a key piece of Boston's educational and workforce landscapes with many STEM initiatives ranging in size, scale and scope in corporations, nonprofits, schools and governments. Given the resources available in Boston, our coalition believes that the current level of mentoring activity is unsatisfactory. We will work together to create systematic change in our city to ensure that students experience a breadth of STEM mentorship opportunities. Each collaborating organization is responsible for different aspects of this program, from volunteer engagement, to providing high-quality STEM educational experiences, to professional development for community-based Out-of-School Time programs, and to expanding existing and building new corporate partnerships. Using existing networks and new business strategies, we are forming new partnerships across sectors that will bring 21st century STEM experiences to Boston public middle school students.

As Chief of Education for the City of Boston under Mayor Marty Walsh, I have the distinct pleasure of working to ensure that all of our young people have access to opportunities that will help them succeed. This includes exposing them to new experiences in a diverse range of fields that will allow them to build new skills, develop intellectual curiosity, and grow their achievement in the classroom. BoSTEM plays a vital role in this effort by giving middle school students access to meaningful, relevant STEM learning experiences and potential career pathways with the help of mentors and volunteers from the business community.”
- Turahn Dorsey, Chief of Education
Office of Mayor Marty Walsh, City of Boston

What we hope to learn

Young people spend 20% of their waking hours in school, which means that they spend 80% of their time learning outside of the formal pre K-12 school system. We need to create an ecosystem that better connects students to these opportunities to plug in and charge up their STEM skills. In order to reach more students and provide them all with meaningful learning experiences, BoSTEM invests in the infrastructure that connects all of these learning spaces—from school to afterschool to home to work to colleges to museums and parks and everywhere in between. Partnerships in this learning ecosystem depend on user-friendly program assessment data, system-wide information management, and access to high quality professional development, which BoSTEM coalition leaders provide. BoSTEM then matches mentors from the STEM business community with the partners and learners that need them most. We can’t wait to watch Boston middle schoolers’ interest and engagement in STEM reach full power.

Our Partners in Boston , MA

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