Media Coverage

Boston Public Schools & Vertex to announce BoSTEM partnership to close STEM achievement gap

For more information, contact:
Brigid Boyd

Mayor Martin J. Walsh

Superintendent Tommy Chang, Boston Public Schools
David Altshuler, M.D., Ph.D. Vertex  Executive Vice President, Global Research and Chief Scientific Officer
Michael K. Durkin, President, United Way
Pat Kirby, Chief Growth Officer and MA Executive Director, Citizens Schools
Chris Smith, President & Executive Director, Boston After School & Beyond

Friday, October 2
10:00 AM

John W. McCormack Middle School
315 Mt. Vernon Street, Boston 02125

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Boston Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy Chang and Vertex Executive Vice President, Global Research and Chief Scientific Officer David Altshuler, M.D., Ph.D.  will join leaders of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, Citizen Schools and Boston After School & Beyond to announce BoSTEM – an innovative new partnership to provide all Boston public middle school students with a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experience by 2020.

BoSTEM is a coalition of over a dozen high-performing nonprofits and a growing list of local corporations who are committing time, expertise and other support to help the Boston Public Schools (BPS) close gaps in student learning, and increase career readiness and interest in STEM sector fields. The coalition formed to meet the US2020 challenge put forth by the White House to generate large-scale, innovative solutions to STEM education challenges in the United States.

As a local program, BoSTEM aims to ensure 100% of Boston’s middle school students have the opportunity to participate in expanded STEM learning experiences by 2020. These experiences are hands-on learning opportunities involving corporate volunteers, teachers and nonprofit staff that give students the chance to apply math and science skills in exciting, real-world contexts through a combination of activities in both school and out-of-school settings. Today, these hands-on STEM learning opportunities are only available to 6% of Boston students through out-of-school time programing. BoSTEM hopes to reach 10,000 BPS middle school students on an annual basis by 2020, providing them all STEM experiences that pique their interest in the STEM fields.

On Friday, BoSTEM will announce Vertex, already an established leader in STEM education initiatives for high school and college students, has signed on as the first industry partner of this coalition and will provide support to launch the new initiative. The announcement will be made at the John W. McCormack
School on Friday, during Vertex’s seventh annual global Day of Service. Nearly 900 Vertex employees will be volunteering at nearly 40 nonprofits and schools on the same day. A core project this year is the assembly of STEM kits to be delivered to middle school science classrooms, including the McCormack school.

“As a former biology teacher, I know first-hand how science can motivate and inspire learning,” says Boston Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy Chang. “To ensure that all students can excel in science and math, and help close the achievement gap, it will truly take a culture of ‘we.’ The Boston Public Schools is so excited to be expanding STEM learning opportunities to more of our students. We are grateful to Vertex and all of our partners and their dedicated mentors for making this happen.”

Mayor Walsh’s Chief of Education, Turahn Dorsey, believes BoSTEM is critically needed. “We have to think of the entire city as a classroom and collaborate across sectors and industries in order to connect students to all that it has to offer. 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.”


WalletHub’s Charity Calculator Helps Determine How to Give

claudia headshotEveryone can give, and should. People often debate between giving time or money to an organization but don’t need to.

“There is no trade-off, people can and do give both time and money as they are able, and both are rewarding,” says Claudia Alfaro, Vice President of External Engagement at Citizen Schools.

Claudia contributed her perspective, along with many other nonprofit leaders, as a part of WalletHub’s “Charity Calculator”. Individuals who want to give but are unsure of how much or in what way can use the calculator to determine how to make the biggest impact.

The calculator weighs whether it is more advantageous to donate time or money depending on how much an individual earns annually.  It also presents examples of what one could donate if they worked an extra hour a week, such as the number of meals given to children facing hunger and the number of trees planted to protect wildlife (see infographic below).

Everyone can give in their own way and WalletHub’s calculator makes it even easier to determine what strategy is best for you.

wallethub charity cal


Citizen Schools Featured on Public Media’s American Graduate Day!

This fall Citizen Schools was a featured on Public Media’s American Graduate Day for the second year in a row. American Graduate Day is a live TV event that celebrates organizations that provide support, advice, and intervention services to students, families, and schools to promote higher graduation rates in communities across the country. See Citizen Schools’ segment below.

American Graduate Day is part of the public media initiative, American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, created to help more kids stay on the path to graduation. Hosted by bestselling author and education advocate Wes Moore, the third annual broadcast was centered on recognizing one million American Graduate Champions who volunteer their time, talent, or other resources in their own communities. Citizen Schools’ volunteer Citizen Teachers and AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows are among this celebrated group!

Read more…

US2020 and Discovery Communications “Connect The Dots” of STEM Education with New PSA

US2020, an organization with the mission of matching 1 million STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) mentors with students at youth-serving nonprofits by the year 2020 that is being incubated within Citizen Schools, partnered with Discovery Communications to release a new PSA to promote STEM education and mentorship. The “Connect the Dots” PSA draws connections between hands-on STEM learning and everyday life to inspire student interest in the STEM subjects and careers. Watch “Connect the Dots” and find out more about how you can get involved:

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 3.55.12 PM


Citizen Schools to be Featured on American Graduate Day 2014!

Live from Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in NYC, airing September 27 at 3PM EST

Day-long Multiplatform Event Celebrates the “Stories of Champions” — Individuals and Organizations Committed to Improving Outcomes for Youth and Raising Graduation Rates   

National Broadcast to Showcase Citizen School’ Efforts to Address the Needs of At-Risk Kids

This video will appear during Citizen Schools’ segment on American Graduate Day.

American Graduate Day 2014 returns this fall for its third consecutive year. Wes Moore, best-selling author and U.S. Army veteran, will host the all-day broadcast on September 27 which will feature Citizen Schools at 3pm on public television stations nationwide. The annual multiplatform event is part of the public media initiative, American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, helping communities bolster graduation rates through the power and reach of local public media stations. Featuring seven hours of national and local programming, live interviews and performances, American Graduate Day 2014 will celebrate the exceptional work of individuals and organizations across the country who are American Graduate Champions: those helping local youth stay on track to college and career successes.

“Every child deserves a quality education and an opportunity for success,” said Pat Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). “The high school graduation numbers are moving in the right direction because people have stepped up as champions for students on behalf of their communities, committed to improving outcomes for all of our nation’s youth. On American Graduate Day, local public media stations will be celebrating the inspirational stories that are contributing to the progress.”

“We are proud to be included in American Graduate Day as an organization that is lifting opportunities for middle school youth in low-income communities,” said Steven Rothstein​, CEO of Citizen Schools. “Individuals and organizations have a vital role to play in ensuring that students are prepared and supported on the path to graduation and future success.”

During Citizen Schools’ segment, NBC News education correspondent, Rehema Ellis, will interview a Citizen Schools 8th grade student, volunteer, and program leader about the STEM (science, engineering, technology, and math) education focus of Citizen Schools’ program at partner school Eagle Academy for Young Men of Newark. Eighth grader, Jacor will demonstrate the fun and hands-on way he learned about math and science through building a model solar and racing it at competition. The volunteer who teaches Solar Cars, Piyush Modak from Endomedix, will share the joy and professional growth she has experienced through teaching and learning from the students each week, and seeing the impact that her passion for STEM can have on kids. They will be joined by Citizen Schools Deputy Campus Director, Chanelle Baylor, to discuss the partnership between Citizen Schools and Eagle Academy that furthers student learning, while supporting teachers, and providing hands-on project-based learning. Projects like what Jacor did with solar cars allows students to transform into young scientists, engineers, astronauts, business owners, and programmers, helping them see the connections between their academics, real-world careers, and how they can achieve their dreams for their future.

Read more…