White House

PRESS RELEASE: White House Welcomes Citizen Schools and DigitasLBi 5th Grade Apprentice as Honored Guest at National Science Fair

White House Welcomes Citizen Schools And DigitasLBi 5th Grade Apprentice As Honored Guest At National Science Fair

BOSTON—March 23, 2015—The White House will welcome Toni-Chanelle Suncar, a 5th grader from Browne Middle School in Chelsea, Massachusetts as an honored guest at the 5th Annual White House Science Fair. Toni-Chanelle will be recognized for her leadership skills while participating in a three-month apprenticeship with Citizen Schools, a leading national education nonprofit, and DigitasLBi, a global marketing and technology company.

Since 2013, DigitasLBi Boston employees have taught seven apprenticeships focusing on marketing, creative arts, and Raspberry Pi technology, which teaches students components of computers and basic programming.

Toni-Chanelle received guidance and mentorship from MacCalvin Romain, DigitasLBi’s Senior Tech Analyst, while learning fundamental elements of programming during the ten-week program. Utilizing SCRATCH, a tool developed by MIT to teach basic computer coding skills, Toni-Chanelle created “Flappy Unicorn,” a single player game. In this game, players earn points by progressing through an obstacle course and avoiding challenges along the way.  Toni-Chanelle developed programming skills that allowed her and her teammates to customize the game (game coloring, sound bites, and point structure), de-bug it as problems arise, and make changes in real-time.

The White House Science Fair hosts incredible inventions from some of America’s youngest scientists and engineers and will be live streamed on today, March 23 at 10am at wh.gov/science-fair.

The White House Science Fair will feature remarks from President Obama, and will give participants the opportunity to interact with other talented students, senior Administration officials, and leading science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) communicators, advocates, and educators from across the country.

Hosted by President Obama, the Fair will feature innovative projects, designs, and experiments from students all across America. With students from a broad range of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competitions, this year’s Fair will also include a focus on diversity and inclusion in STEM fields.

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 visithttp://www.citizenschools.org/

About DigitasLBi

DigitasLBi is a global marketing and technology agency that transforms businesses for the digital age. We help companies of all shapes and sizes decide What’s Next… and then we take them there. Also a top ten global agency, DigitasLBi is comprised of 6,000 digital and technology experts across 40 offices in 25 countries worldwide.
DigitasLBi is a member of Publicis Groupe, [listed on the Euronext Paris Exchange – FR0000130577 – and part of the CAC 40 index] the world’s third largest communications group. With approximately 60,000 professionals spanning 108 countries on five continents, Publicis Groupe offers local and international clients a complete range of communications services. http://www.publicisgroupe.com @PublicisGroupe

US2020 PRESS RELEASE: US2020 Announces 7 Cities as Winners of its STEM Mentoring Competition at the White House Science Fair


Responding to the President’s Call to Action, US2020 Announces 7 Cities as Winners of its STEM Mentoring Competition at the White House Science Fair

City Competition Winners Announced as Part of Multi-Year Campaign to Boost STEM Mentorship Across the Country

Media contact: Oscar Robles, US2020, 347.977.0022 (cell), oscarrobles@us2020.org

WASHINGTON, DC – Today at the White House Science Fair, responding to President Obama’s call to action to get more girls and boys engaged in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), US2020 announced seven cities as the winners of a national competition to encourage mentoring in STEM.

Sponsored by Cisco and launched at the Clinton Global Initiative, the US2020 City Competition challenged cities to develop innovative models for dramatically increasing the number of STEM professionals mentoring and teaching students through hands-on projects.  US2020 is specifically focused on increasing STEM opportunities and STEM excitement for girls, underrepresented minorities, and children from low-income families.  Public/private coalitions from 52 cities across the nation applied, engaging nearly 600 companies and civic organizations.

The 7 winning city coalitions, representing over 200 companies and organizations are:

The winners will share $1 million in financial, consulting, and staff support over the next year to help start local movements around STEM mentoring, including:

  • Communications consulting and training with Discovery Communications;
  • Funds to hire a local project manager (Grand Prize Winners only: Allentown, PA, Chicago, IL, and Research Triangle Park, NC);
  • Cohorts of capacity-building  AmeriCorps VISTA members;
  •  Access to US2020’s state-of the-art volunteer matching platform, built in partnership with Tata Consultancy Services;
  • Management consulting services from US2020 and external partners; and
  • Membership in the US2020 community of practice.

The plans developed by these seven cities represent some of the country’s most innovative thinking in engaging underrepresented and underserved youth in STEM.  To learn more about each city and for local contact details, visit their mini-profile pages here: AllentownChicagoIndianapolisPhiladelphiaResearch Triangle ParkSan Francisco, and Wichita.

Cisco is a founding partner of US2020 and the official sponsor of the US2020 City Competition. Cisco continues to build upon its two-decade long commitment to STEM education, supporting major programs to develop a robust pipeline of students interested in entering STEM fields.  “Our nation faces a stark but significant challenge: how do we encourage more young people to enter STEM fields and ensure that America remains competitive on the global stage,” said Blair Christie, Cisco’s Chief Marketing Officer.  “In addressing this challenge, we open the door of opportunity to a diverse new generation of young people.  Cisco is so pleased to be a partner of US2020 and the City Competition.  It’s part of our enduring commitment to increasing America’s talent pipeline by supporting bold and innovative STEM mentoring programs.” As part of its commitment to US2020, Cisco has pledged that 20% of its U.S. workforce will volunteer 20 hours or more in STEM mentoring by 2020.

Discovery Communications, parent company to the Discovery Channel, among others, has announced it will join US2020 as its exclusive media partner.  Leveraging its entire suite of networks and services, Discovery will develop a Public Service Announcement, which will star MythBusters' and Science Channel's Head Rush host Kari Byron, and will be focused on motivating girls and minorities to pursue STEM careers.  The PSA will air nationally across Discovery’s portfolio of 14 U.S. networks later this summer.  Additionally, Discovery Education, with US2020, will take students on a virtual field trip to the White House Science Fair as part of their Of The People: Live From the White House webinar series.  Discovery also will provide US2020 and its partners with a day-long summit focused on building marketing and communications campaigns and launch a mentor program with Discovery’s STEM-focused employees.  “We are extremely proud to support this fantastic STEM initiative.  Education is part of Discovery’s DNA and from our first broadcast, we set out to educate and entertain viewers about the world around them.  Helping to build the next generation of STEM professionals is an important part of our mission, and we are pleased to partner on this critical program, providing resources and platforms to drive this important goal,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), in partnership with US2020 and Citizen Schools, has committed 25 AmeriCorps VISTA members, an investment of more than $550,000, to do the important work of engaging communities in this STEM mentoring initiative. Fifteen of these capacity-builders will serve in the winning cities, while 10 will support efforts nationwide.  “Our nation's success depends on helping every child reach his or her full potential in life,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “We know the difference a mentor makes, and STEM mentoring can ignite a passion for math and science, building ladders of opportunity students might otherwise never have. We’re proud that US2020 is part of the STEM AmeriCorps family -- and just as proud that AmeriCorps VISTA members will strengthen STEM opportunities for students across the country.”

“Identifying and supporting programs that promote a healthy and robust STEM talent pipeline is crucial to the United States’ economic and national security,” said Pam Erickson, vice president of Corporate Affairs for Raytheon, a founding partner of US2020. “The US2020 City Competition has identified key programs that will provide new opportunities for businesses like Raytheon to help equalize access to STEM careers for underserved populations.”

Chevron announced today it has become the newest corporate partner of US2020, as part of its commitment to supporting hands-on STEM education. “Few things are more important to young people and the future of American competitiveness than a quality education,” said Blair Blackwell, manager of education and corporate programs at Chevron. “Our company not only provides financial support to hands-on and project-based STEM programs, our employees have also invested countless hours in mentoring the next generation of innovators.  We look forward to working with US2020 on expanding mentorship opportunities, especially with underrepresented youth.”

US2020 has announced a partnership with Department of Energy (DOE) and its Office of Economic Impact and Diversity and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.  US2020 and DOE will begin working together and sharing resources including DOE’s Women @ Energy and Energy Literacy programs.  US2020 is also exploring ways to support DOE’s work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to bring both mentoring and energy literacy into the outreach models for public housing authorities as part of a national pilot program.

This summer the US2020 volunteer matching platform will go live and provide cities, and corporate and educational partners with a powerful tool to engage professionals in STEM education nation-wide.  Tata Consultancy Services is a founding and technical partner and the pro bono developer of the platform.  "TCS is proud to be building US2020's dynamic online platform that will match industry professionals with best-in-class career mentor programs, serving underserved groups, at-risk youth and minorities." said Surya Kant, President of TCS North America, U.K. and Europe. "We are excited to see this platform support and accelerate STEM education across these impressive city initiatives, and nationally across the U.S."

Together, these cities, US2020 and its partners are pushing forward a movement.  The vision of this movement is an America where every child, especially every girl, every child of color and every child from a low-income family, has the opportunity to be inspired to pursue a STEM career.

US2020’s founding partners are Cisco, Cognizant, Raytheon, SanDisk and Tata Consultancy Services, now joined by Chevron, with additional support coming from Discovery Communications, Fidelity Investments, HP, Salesforce, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

About US2020

US2020 is a new organization formed through a partnership of leading education non-profits and corporate leaders in the STEM field. The long-term goal of the initiative is to mobilize 1 million STEM mentors annually by the year 2020, creating millions of moments of discovery – those life changing events when children launch rockets, build robots, write a computer program, or look into the farthest reaches of the universe.  US2020 relies on a committed and growing community of public, private, non-profit, and individual partners. US2020 will be incubated by Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit organization focused on expanding learning time for middle school students across the country, through mid-2014.

White House Tech Inclusion Event Features US2020

Eric Schwarz is the Co-Founder and CEO of Citizen Schools and the Executive Chairman of US2020 "US2020 has a really mind boggling and awesome goal which is by 2020 to deploy 1 million new STEM mentors in American schools. I think all of us can remember a moment when someone loved us enough and cared about us enough to actually help point us to something that got us engaged in what we're actually now doing. There's a whole bunch of evidence that injecting more mentoring into schools will create moments of inspiration that will actually catapult a whole new generation of kids into science and tech careers."- Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer of the United States of America, at the White House "Champions of Change" event.

photo (13)Yesterday on July 31, the White House hosted an event featuring Tech Inclusion initiatives including US2020. The event celebrated and honored local change-agents who are making moments of wonder and discovery happen for kids – specifically those from communities underrepresented in careers that rely on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills.

Leaders across the country are working to help create these incredible moments every day. Many, including US2020 and its Founding Partners, including Salesforce, the latest tech company to join our effort, are working hard to connect and spark young minds through mentoring programs. At the White House event yesterday Nate Hurst, a leader at US2020 partner HP, said his company has looked to spark innovation in America through its people ever since legendary founders Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett started the company in a Silicon Valley garage in 1939. Hurst said US2020 is helping HP advance this goal by connecting its engineers to high-quality mentoring opportunities near where they work and live.

Earlier this week, Tom Kalil, the White House’s deputy director of science and technology policy, said that organizations like US2020 and Citizen Schools, which is incubating the US2020 effort, act as the "connective tissue" between companies and schools to help make mentoring more effective at ensuring a qualified future work force. At US2020, we are dedicated to doing our part. In September 2013 we will launch a City Competition focused on finding ways to dramatically scale STEM mentoring in up to five American communities and develop solutions to the STEM crisis in America. Find out more about how you can get involved and encourage your city to apply by visiting: http://us2020.org/city-competition/.

National Service Task Force Announced at the White House

Eric Schwarz is the CEO and Co-Founder of Citizen Schools and the Executive Chairman of US2020.

Today was an exciting day for national service and volunteerism. President Obama honored the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award winner and President George H.W. Bush for his lifetime of public service including as founder of the Points of Light movement which promotes the power of individuals to change the world through service. Building on the tradition of bipartisan support for national service and volunteerism, President Obama announced the creation of the National Service Task Force led by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The Task Force of cabinet-level appointees will look at new ways to expand national service to meet needs in America in collaboration with other Federal agencies and the private sector.

tf and kid

Last month, I wrote a blog post in response to Gen. McChrystal’s call to national service in the Wall Street Journal. Young Americans are hungry for national service opportunities, but there aren’t enough positions to accommodate all who want to serve. In fact at Citizen Schools and AmeriCorps overall, there are about seven qualified applicants for every available position.

The new taskforce will help open up more service positions to complement the critically important work of CNCS programs like AmeriCorps. The task force will be co-chaired by Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS, and Cecilia Munoz, head of the Domestic Policy Council.  It will look to create additional cross-agency service collaborations - building on FEMA Corps, School Turnaround AmeriCorps, and STEM AmeriCorps - and pursue other ways to advance options for more Americans to serve.

tf group

National service is already having a major impact on our country’s future. One example is the Citizen Schools National Teaching Fellowship, one of many AmeriCorps opportunities, which adds time and resources to schools that are stretched too thin.

AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows provide academic support, make connections between college and careers, and help students build critical skills to prepare for the 21st century workplace. Thanks to these AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows and hundreds of volunteers from corporations and organizations across the country, Expanded Learning Time (ELT) schools are seeing 10-20 percentage point gains in math and English in just three years. Students are graduating at a rate 20% higher than their matched peers. And they are excited to become future engineers, doctors, and computer programmers, expressing interest in STEM careers at more than twice the rate of their peers.

It is exciting to hear President Obama and President Bush come together to harness American idealism and national service as a way to solve the great challenges the country faces. Citizen Schools is tackling several of these challenges head-on, including the current STEM education challenge. The demand for professionals in the STEM fields is projected to dramatically outpace the supply of STEM graduates over the coming decades, partly because many students, particularly girls and underrepresented minorities, receive little exposure to STEM opportunities. A Lemelson-MIT survey found that a majority of teenagers may be discouraged from pursuing STEM careers because they do not know anyone who works in these fields and they do not understand what people in these fields do.


Through Citizen Schools’ volunteer-led “apprenticeship” opportunities and the newly formed US2020 initiative, students will have the chance to make that connection between school and STEM careers. US2020 aims to help prepare the next generation of innovators by recruiting and training STEM professionals to lead school-based and extra-curricular projects with students, such as building robots, conducting medical experiments, designing video games, and launching rockets.

By bringing one million mentors into classrooms across the country by the year 2020 through nonprofits like Citizen Schools, the Girl Scouts, 4H and more, students will be able to have the inspiration they deserve. Those moments of discovery would not be possible without dedicated AmeriCorps members and volunteers. They are truly points of light.

With the new Task Force, STEM AmeriCorps and US2020 will have more opportunities for VISTA and AmeriCorps members to act as the essential mobilizers of volunteer STEM mentors, helping them connect underserved children to opportunities in STEM fields. I believe national service can bridge the gaps that exist in education and I am excited to work with AmeriCorps and others to get more STEM professionals out of their labs and their cubicles and into classrooms and extended day programs.

POLITICO: Tech, education leaders talk STEM challenges

POLITICO June 12, 2013

Tech, education leaders talk STEM challenges

From left: POLITICO's Jessica Meyers, Co-Founder and CEO, Citizen Schools, Eric Schwarz, resident and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Nina Rees, Secretary-Treasurer, National Education Association Becky Pringle, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation for The White House Tom Kalil, and POLITICO's Tony Romm.

Last week, Eric Schwarz, Co-Founder and CEO of Citizen Schools and Executive Chairman of US2020, joined POLITICO Pro’s Tech Deep Dive: STEM Policy’s Next Steps. Joined by Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation for The White House, and others the conversation centered on the state of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, implications on the next STEM workforce, and upcoming STEM policy measures  in the next year.

“At the end of the day, if we’re going to get where we want to go as a country … it is going to take many more successes for young people in elementary school, middle school and high school. That can happen in our schools,” Schwarz said. Read the article and watch the panel discussion.


Citizen Schools Student Presents at the White House

When Cassidy Wright first saw President Obama in person she lit up, saying, "Is it really him?!" To her delight, it really was. Out of hundreds of students, Cassidy, a Citizen Schools student from the Irving Middle School in Massachusetts, was selected to be one of 50 students to present at the third annual White House Science Fair. With the poise of an expert, she explained to United States Chief Technology Officer Todd Park how to set up a LED light circuit programmed by a computer. And she's only in 6th grade...

Cassidy with Citizen Schools CEO & Co-Founder Eric Schwarz

Cassidy Wright is part of a special class called TechnoSWAG-- a hands-on learning project taught by volunteers from technology company Cognizant. During this "apprenticeship" Cassidy and her classmates  have learned the science and technology behind circuits, electricity and computer programming from real-life scientists and engineers.

Since day one, Cassidy has been a stand-out student in this apprenticeship. For her TechnoSWAG project, Cassidy chose to use her new found knowledge of technology for a cause close to heart. She created a light-up banner that says “Be Yourself," which takes a stand against the bullying that she sees in middle school, in the hope that she can encourage other students to accept themselves as they are, and to accept others.

Technically speaking, she created the banner by sewing LED lights and an open-source Lilypad Arduino microcontroller into the fabric with conductive thread. Then, she wrote a computer program to tell the LED lights when and how long to light up at different points, creating a pattern.

Presenting to U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park

Cassidy is a prime example that all kids can achieve great things when given the opportunity. She lives in the Hyde Park area of Boston, a typically low-income neighborhood, with her mother and brother. Through her TechnoSWAG apprenticeship class, Cassidy feels she's more prepared to achieve her goals, even though she knows it will be hard. She’s ready to work hard for the dreams she's discovered.

Cassidy says she doesn't try to be like other people and she doesn't let herself care about what other people say about her. She reminds herself of the advice and values her mother instilled in her, “I’m specially gifted in my own way and I don’t try to be like everyone else.”

We are so proud of Cassidy-- of her courage to present in front of national leaders, of her strength in believing in herself, and of all her hard work in taking advanced technological concepts and applying them to create something beautiful. Cassidy, you're our hero!

Press Release: New Multi-Year STEM Mentoring Campaign - US2020 – Announced Today at White House Science Fair

Contact: Holly Trippett, Citizen Schools, cell 301-452-3904, hollytrippett@citizenschools.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


10 Founding Companies Have Invested More than $2 Million; Pledged to Lead Effort to Engage One Million Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Mentors by the Year 2020 

WASHINGTON, DC - April 22, 2013 - Today, leaders from ten prominent education non-profits and U.S. technology companies, including Fortune 500 firms Cisco, Cognizant, and SanDisk, announced the formation of US2020 at the 3rd Annual White House Science Fair. US2020 is an all-hands-on-deck initiative that aims to connect more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals to students from kindergarten through college.

Speaking at the Science Fair, President Obama said, “When students excel in math and science, they help America compete for the jobs and industries of the future,” said President Obama. “That’s why I’m proud to celebrate outstanding students at the White House Science Fair, and to announce new steps my Administration and its partners are taking to help more young people succeed in these critical subjects."

Through the US2020 initiative, partner companies will lead a major scale-up of high-quality STEM mentoring, generally targeting 20 percent or more of their employees volunteering at least 20 hours a year as STEM mentors by the year 2020. US2020 will build the supply of mentors through CEO commitments, corporate volunteer engagement programs, and engagement among technology professionals. Together with its partners, this initiative aims to make mentoring the new normal in the STEM fields, just as pro-bono work is common in the legal profession.

The demand for professionals in the STEM fields is projected to dramatically outpace the supply of STEM graduates over the coming decades, partly because many students, particularly girls and underrepresented minorities, receive little exposure to STEM opportunities. A Lemelson-MIT survey found that a majority of teenagers may be discouraged from pursuing STEM careers because they do not know anyone who works in these fields and they do not understand what people in these fields do. The problem is particularly acute for populations that have been historically underrepresented in STEM fields. While earning a STEM degree is one important milestone in pursuing a STEM career, just 2.2 percent of Hispanics and Latinos, 2.7 percent of African Americans, and 3.3 percent of Native Americans and Alaska Natives have earned a first university degree in the natural sciences or engineering by age 24.

“Achievement and opportunity gaps are growing nationally in education and in STEM education specifically, driven by a chasm between the authentic learning opportunities available to upper and lower-income children,” said Eric Schwarz, co-founder and CEO of Citizen Schools and Executive Chairman of US2020. “In the United States, millions of scientists and technology experts have the ability to inspire students who need their support most; this effort will make it possible for them to enable these moments of discovery. Through hands-on projects and academic coaching, US2020 will give students a chance to connect with successful STEM professionals, providing a level of engagement that can change the trajectory of STEM education in the United States.”

Building off of President Obama’s launch of the “Educate to Innovate” campaign in 2009, US2020 plans to harness that spirit of innovation by engaging more professionals in the STEM fields. The long-term goal of US2020 is to mobilize one million STEM mentors annually by the year 2020, creating millions of moments of discovery -- those eureka moments when children launching rockets, building robots, or looking through microscopes open their mouths and eyes wide and open the door to a brighter future.

Today, the following founding corporate partners and members of US2020 announced their investment of more than $2 million collectively in private start-up funds and an additional $1 million in pro bono services to launch the organization and support high-quality STEM mentoring:

  • AfterCollege
  • Cisco
  • Cognizant
  • HotChalk
  • SanDisk
  • Weber Shandwick

“By 2015, it is expected that roughly 90% of jobs across all sectors will require technology skills. Therefore, it is critical that we invest today to create tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, innovators and engineers, and to ensure U.S. competitiveness,” said John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco. “Through our involvement with US2020, Cisco will encourage employees to spend more time mentoring youth and engaging them in hands-on learning experiences, which are vital to fostering a passion for the STEM fields. Cisco is proud to be part of this important initiative.”

“We are proud to join US2020 in the movement to inspire more student interest in STEM careers,” said Gordon Coburn, President of Cognizant. “As a leading provider of information technology, consulting and business process services, we understand the important role STEM professionals play in today’s global innovation economy. We look forward to working through this public-private partnership to facilitate hands-on learning opportunities that enable development and career interest for our nation’s young people.”

“SanDisk's role with US2020 builds on our tradition of education-focused philanthropic activities and the volunteer work of SanDisk employees,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, president and CEO, SanDisk. “We're proud to support efforts like US2020 that will improve student achievement in science, technology, engineering and math fields, and mentor young people who can strengthen our nation’s competitiveness and help technology companies find the talent we need to continue driving innovation.”

“Through our six year volunteer teaching partnership with Citizens Schools we have seen first-hand the positive impact mentoring has on young people as well as the inspiration it brings to our employees,” said Micho Spring, chair, Global Corporate Practice and president, Weber Shandwick New England. “We are dedicated to driving engagement around solutions that will create a more sustainable future. Inspiring tomorrow’s leaders is vital to our future success and we are honored to partner with US2020 to bring this important effort to scale.”

Non-profit founding partners, Citizen Schools, CodeNow, the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, and TEALS, pledged to work with US2020 over the next few years to recruit hundreds of additional education non-profits and school districts that will commit to high standards in STEM mentoring, common and transparent metrics, and efforts to scale high-quality placement for STEM mentors in both school day and extended day, extended week, and extended year settings.

In his State of the Union Address in January, President Obama advocated for more public-private partnerships and career training in STEM fields to meet the growing demand for skilled professionals. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the demand for professionals in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math is projected to dramatically outpace the supply over the coming decades, with over two million anticipated STEM job openings by 2018 and a serious shortage of qualified college graduates to fill them.

The Obama Administration has worked on several initiatives to address this issue and celebrate the achievements of young students who are working towards a future in the STEM fields, including the White House Science Fair. The Science Fair featured 50 young inventors and innovators, including Cassidy Wright, a 6th grader from the Washington Irving Middle School in Roslindale, MA, who will attend the fair to share her project that was created during a Citizen Schools apprenticeship with volunteer teacher Mark Greenlaw of Cognizant.

About US2020

US2020 is a new organization formed through a partnership of leading education non-profits and corporate leaders in the STEM field. The initiative emerged from a White House call to generate big, innovative solutions to our STEM education challenge, with a focus on increasing access to STEM careers for girls, underrepresented minorities in the sciences, and low-income children. US2020 will be incubated within Citizen Schools, a leading education non-profit and will become a standalone non-profit entity in 2014. US2020 relies on a committed and growing community of public, private, non-profit and individual partners.

White House Blog: Citizen Schools Inspires

Sometimes "I can’t" really means "it takes more than I am willing to try.” On Wednesday, August 2, the White House Blog featured a story about Citizen Schools and its unique model for engaging America’s youth in STEM education.

This story has two layers. The first is about Edwards Middle School in Charlestown, Massachusetts, which people believed could not be fixed. The second is about that school's current principal, who was told his son would never walk.

The world is full of “can’t.” Schools like the Edwards can’t be turned around, and children like Liam can’t walk. Why bother trying? Principal Leo Flanagan doesn't accept “can’t.”

Edwards Middle School and Citizen Schools launched Expanded Learning Time (ELT) together a few years before Flanagan became principal. The extra time allowed for more academic support and apprenticeships—where kids work alongside volunteer engineers, computer programmers, web designers, and more. The kids build skills and dreams, and the school blossoms. Five years after launching ELT, Edwards Middle School is now one of the top performing schools in the district.

Flanagan inspired change at home as well. Every day he helped his son learn to walk. Every difficult step was one step closer to success. Today his son not only walks, but runs on steady, strong legs.


Principal Flanagan's world is full of “can." His students can achieve and succeed, a child can walk despite the odds. Flanagan says, “Sometimes, when you have a kid who ‘can’t do things’ it really means 'what it takes for them to do it is more than I am willing to try'.”

"I want us all to think about new and creative ways to engage young people in science and engineering," says the president. "To encourage young people to create and build and invent—to be makers of things, not just consumers of things."

But kids growing up in poor communities live in the world of "can't." They don’t have the same opportunities as kids growing up where engineers and scientists and inventors are abundant.

As Principal Flanagan says, “It takes an engineer at an engineering firm to get them to believe that they, too, belong there and they can do whatever they want to do.”

Together, we can show them that they can. When STEM professionals and other successful adults enter their world through Citizen Schools, they do.

Do you have what it takes to turn "can't" into "can"? Learn more about teaching an apprenticeship in, New YorkNew JerseyNorth CarolinaIllinoisTexasNew Mexico and California.

WhiteHouse.gov: Citizen Schools included in STEM Press Release

President Obama to Announce Major Expansion of “Educate to Innovate” Campaign to Improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education


September 16, 2010

Citizen Schools is included in this White House press release regarding an expansion of the “Educate to Innovate” STEM efforts. Click here to read the press release.