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

For more information, contact:Brigid Boyd 339-236-1161

WHO: 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

WHEN: Friday, October 2 10:00 AM

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

WHAT: 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.”