Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program Launched in New Jersey Middle Schools

Systemic programming and investments in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education are imperative for improving STEM literacy in our future workforce – our nation’s students.  A strategic approach to preparing a strong future cadre of native born, qualified STEM professionals is essential for the United States to keep pace in our fast evolving global innovation economy.

In urban centers, including Newark, where under-served minority students face a significant achievement gap, acquiring skills in science and technology may not only improve their academic performance – it can aid them in finding a pathway out of poverty and plug the leaky pipeline from schools to jobs (National Academy of Science, 2008).

Like many regions of the world, Newark  is science rich and systems poor. With the metropolitian area’s large community of working scientists and abundant scientific resources, Newark’s public school children still struggle in the sciences, lagging by most measures of scientific literacy.

With this in mind, the NY Academy of Science launched the NYAS K-12 Science Education Initiative in 2010, with the goal of addressing lagging achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines by K-12 students. As part of this initiative, the Academy has created the Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program and the Science Teacher Program, targeting not only the K-12 students but also the educators who cultivate and further their scientific development.

The New Jersey Pilot of the Afterschool Stem Mentoring program will begin in September 2011 in New Jersey middle schools.

Read Citizen Teacher Sean Belka's guest post on NBC News Education Nation blog on how he made STEM relevant through web design.

Watch how Citizen Teacher Hector St. Hilaire made STEM fun by showing students how to design and build their own robots.