Science, Technology, Engineering, Math out-of-school time programs for 4th-8th grade underrepresented youth
In today’s rapidly changing world, all youth deserve the opportunity to participate in engaging, interactive, and fun experiences related to science, technology, engineering, and math, also known as STEM. STEM experiences provide youth with opportunities to explore not only the world around them, but also their interests and develop their skills. STEM Beyond School (SBS) seeks to provide these opportunities by creating a state-wide, out-of-school time STEM collaborative network to serve underserved youth in Oregon. Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H and the Portland Metro STEM Partnership received funding from the Oregon Department of Education to work with Oregon’s eleven STEM Hubs, Oregon State University, and 75+ community partners to bring high quality STEM education to youth in grades 4-8 in both urban and rural areas of the state.
SBS will increase out-of-school time STEM programming for youth by cultivating a vibrant and engaged collaborative network, or SBS Community of Practice. This community of STEM education providers and support organizations will work together to expand effective STEM programming and grow new STEM learning opportunities by sharing curricular resources, providing coaching & professional development, and supporting assessment/evaluation efforts. The SBS community will target persistent needs within the field, such as providing high quality culturally responsive STEM programming to diverse learners, science (Next Generation Science Standards) and math (Common Core State Standards – Math) content standards, rigorous program design and evaluation, and assessing student growth in a variety of areas such as ability to apply new knowledge and skills; propose and test solutions to problems within their communities; and their views of themselves as learners and individuals who can succeed in STEM and other fields that use problem solving, inquiry and critical thinking.
All SBS programs will involve the following elements that contribute to student growth: (1) students are involved in making decisions related to what they are learning; (2) students are actively engaged as designers (scientific investigations, engineering solutions, technology solutions, etc.); (3) students apply new learning in modified or novel contexts; and (4) programs are applied to community and real world contexts or careers.
A Family Advisory Council will provide critical input on meeting the needs of underserved students. Regional and state-wide events will engage additional programs and disseminate information to the broader community. In the 16 months, SBS will reach 1,500 students with 70 hours of high quality, community-based science programming, all outside of school.
For more information:
Beth St. Amand Program Coordinator
Jerian Abel Portland Metro STEM Partnership Co-Director
Kristen Harrison Portland Metro STEM Partnership Co-Director
Pat Willis OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development