Imagine a world in which building robots with engineers, designing experiments with researchers and developing flight paths with astronauts was the norm in middle school science? And a world in which every teacher had the training, tools and community support to bring this idea to life?
This world is the inspiration behind our newest program design innovation, Catalyst.
In the fall of 2017, we began a 2-year pilot, in partnership with teacher design partners, to develop and test a bold, new approach to classroom instruction - one that pairs teachers with community experts to deliver engaging, real-world projects inside middle school classrooms.
It's our effort to ensure that all children have access to the deeper learning opportunities they crave, and that all teachers have the supports they need to build the skills and networks of our next generation leaders. Catalyst will help build the capacity of teachers, schools, parents and volunteers, while bringing learning to life for our students, by integrating our apprenticeships into the traditional school day classroom for students in grades 5 through 9.
Designed By Experts
Community-based volunteers, teachers, parents and students are the experts who can best inform how we translate our 22 years of experience as direct service providers in after-school settings to the school day. In the Fall of 2017, we launched a two-year pilot that will use a human-centered design approach to build and test elements of this program offering in partnership with an veteran group of certified classroom teachers in three districts, across three states - California, Massachusetts and North Carolina.
In order to teach skills like collaborative problem solving, we must first put them into practice in how we approach our own work. In addition to the partnership with our teacher co-Designers, we are grateful to be developing Catalyst in collaboration with individuals and organizations that offer rich expertise and experience in teacher training, volunteer mobilization and training, family engagement, assessment and evaluation and organizational scale.