BoSTEM is a city-wide initiative aimed at increasing afterschool STEM programming for 6-8 graders in Boston who are typically underrepresented in STEM learning and careers. Launched in 2015 by Boston After School & Beyond and United Way of Massachusetts Bay, BoSTEM brings together a coalition of high performing nonprofits who are committed to closing the achievement and opportunity gaps for students who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM learning and to inspire and prepare Boston youth to succeed in 21st century careers. Working in collaboration with Boston Public Schools and local corporations, this innovative initiative ensures students have access to programming that is culturally responsive, aligns with in-school curricula, and integrates hands-on, experiential learning opportunities. Through participation in BoSTEM, partners engage in a data-driven community of practice that supports continuous learning and improvement within a common framework, while providing partners autonomy for customized, site-specific strategies that work best for their students.
Breakthrough Greater Boston (BTGB)
Through six years of intensive, tuition-free out-of-school time programming for traditionally underserved middle and high school students, BTGB changes students academic trajectories and supports them along the path to college. Breakthrough’s Full STEAM Ahead Program for middle school students delivers core academic STEM courses in the summer, after school STEAM workshops during the school year, and STEM career exposure through community partnerships.
Citizen Schools engages students in grades 6-8 in STEM programming built into an extended school day four days a week at partner schools. Apprenticeships engage students in hands-on learning experiences led by local professionals and community members in STEM topics such as robotics, microbiology, and financial literacy.
CitySprouts Middle School Program is an out-of-school time program that introduces young people ages 11-14 to ecosystems and food systems through garden-based learning in partnership with Boston Public Schools. Using a combination of gardening, cooking, and exploring the neighborhood as a vehicle, CitySprouts guides middle school-aged youth through projects that engage them in science practices, encourage lifelong habits of health,and give them practice being leaders in their communities.
Community Boat Building
At Community Boat Building’s workshop in Boston’s Seaport District, students learn real world applications for their classroom skills. Lessons focus on math, collaboration, and engineering as students work in small teams to construct and launch traditional wooden rowboats, that are later utilized to explore marine science topics on the Fort Point Channel.
Latino STEM Alliance
Latino STEM Alliance offers a diversified STEM curriculum that includes robotics and is offered both during the school day and after school hours. Through the after school program, students undertake a series of design challenges that teach students science, technology, engineering, robotics, and programming principles with Lego Robots and other STEM related materials.
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Youth Programs
Massachusetts General Hospital’s Science Fair Mentor Program pairs students in grades 7-8 with MGH professional’s who serve as their mentors in the creation of science fair projects and help students connect Science to real-world settings through shadowing opportunities at the hospital. Matches meet bi-monthly from October to February to help students define research questions, collect and analyze data, and present their results.
Sociedad Latina’s STEAM team program integrates academic and enrichment programming after school and during summer months. STEAM Team is proven to boost academic achievement, English Language development, and spark & sustain STEM engagement for middle school students.
Thompson Island Outward Bound
Situated on Boston Harbor Islands National Park, Thompson Island Outward Bound’s Education Center offers place-based science learning experiences to students in grades 6-8 and integrates curriculum into partner schools. Classroom visits and instruction help prepare students for island visits where they study wildlife, biodiversity, geology, and agents of erosion through a research-based, hands-on curriculum infused with Outward Bound’s unique approach to character development.
- Boston After School & Beyond – Julia Kilgore, STEM Director
- United Way of Massachusetts Bay – Joe Rosenbaum, Project Director
- Boston Public Schools – Pam Pelletier, Science Department – Science Director
- City of Boston
- +8 Partner Organizations
Boston Public Schools Press Release, U.S. Department of Education Awards $3.9M to Expand BoSTEM, a Citywide Initiative to Increase STEM Programming in Boston Public Schools, January 18, 2018
Sampan.org, U.S. Department of Education awards $3.9M to expand BoSTEM, a citywide initiative to increase STEM programming, January 18, 2018
WCVB Channel 5, Investing in Students, November 15, 2015
White House Office of the Press Secretary, Fact Sheet: At White House Astronomy Night, President Obama Announces New Private-Sector Commitments to Get Students Excited About Science and Space, October 19, 2015
Boston Globe, New initiative to expand STEM learning in Boston middle schools, October 2, 2015
Boston City TV, BoSTEM Announcement and Vertex’s Annual Day of Service, October 2, 2015
Youth Today, Helping Kids Earn Credentials: Digital Badges for Out-of-School Time Learning, December 23, 2015