PRESS RELEASE: Biogen Idec Foundation Pledges Additional Support to Citizen Schools to Advance STEM Education

CITIZEN SCHOOLS CONTACT: Holly Trippett, (617) 695-2300 x1161, Cell: (301)-452-3904, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The $1.5 Million Investment Will Allow the Organization to Scale Programming Nationally; Company named “National Innovation Partner”

Boston, MA– January 26, 2015—Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit organization that partners with public middle schools to expand the learning day for underserved students, today announced a new Biogen Idec Foundation grant to support its science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs, and has named the Biogen Idec Foundation its first National Innovation Partner.

Based on a shared commitment to sparking students’ interest in science through hands-on experiences, the Biogen Idec Foundation will help launch the next phase of Citizen Schools’ national STEM strategy to improve and scale the hands-on apprenticeship model for STEM learning in Massachusetts and North Carolina and at the national level.

The $1.5 million, three-year investment will allow Citizen Schools to provide thousands of middle school students with real-world learning opportunities led by volunteer professionals and will also support a STEM curriculum development and a randomized evaluation by leading evaluation firm Abt Associates. The analysis will test whether providing STEM-focused apprenticeships leads to increased STEM interest and achievement in math and science for middle school students.

The Biogen Idec Foundation has supported Citizen Schools since 2008, providing more than $250,000 in grants to support the organization’s STEM apprenticeship programs in Boston, MA and Research Triangle Park, NC.

"The best way to engage students in the STEM subjects is by providing exciting, hands-on learning experiences with experts, like Biogen Idec scientists, who can show them what’s possible beyond the classroom,” said Steven Rothstein, CEO of Citizen Schools. "We are incredibly grateful for The Biogen Idec Foundation's support as we work to improve educational opportunities for students in low-income communities across the country."

“The Biogen Idec Foundation and Citizen Schools share an ongoing commitment to spark student’s interests in science through hands-on experiences and exposure to a variety of career pathways,” said Tony Kingsley, chairman of the Biogen Idec Foundation. “We are proud to serve as the first National Innovation Partner and work to improve educational opportunities and long-term success for underserved students.”

As a National Innovation Partner, the Biogen Idec Foundation will extend the innovative work of the Biogen Idec Community Lab from Massachusetts to North Carolina. The combination of Biogen’s unique apprenticeships, commitment to STEM curriculum, and rigorous evaluation is poised to transform Citizen Schools’ STEM programs.

Since 2008, 37 Biogen Idec employees have taught nine apprenticeships in Massachusetts and North Carolina. Biogen Idec-led STEM apprenticeships help students transform into junior scientists at the Community Lab. The students conduct experiments side-by-side with Biogen Idec scientists, using the same state-of-the-art equipment and tools that the scientists utilize to discover and create new medicine. The apprenticeships introduce students to practical applications of their academics and introduce careers they might not have known existed.

Citizen Schools partners with public middle schools nationally to expand the school day for children in underserved communities through academic mentoring and skill-building apprenticeships. The projects foster authentic learning experiences and are taught by volunteer professionals, or Citizen Teachers, who share their expertise and passions in engaging and innovative ways. Citizen Schools’ focus on math and science based apprenticeships are helping to improve math proficiency levels and ensure a more diverse 21st century workforce skilled in the STEM job sectors.

About Citizen Schools Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities. Citizen Schools mobilizes a team of AmeriCorps educators and volunteer “Citizen Teachers” to teach real-world learning projects and provide academic support in order to help all students discover and achieve their dreams. For more information, please visit

About The Biogen Idec Foundation The Biogen Idec Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of peoples' lives and contribute to the vitality of the communities in which the company operates, with a special emphasis on innovative ways to promote science literacy and encourage young people to consider science careers. Additional information about the Biogen Idec Foundation can be found at: