Celebrating Massachusetts STEM Week
Every year, City Year Greater Boston’s Civic Engagement (BCE) team leverages the power of thousands of volunteers to improve the physical climate and expand the resources available in Boston and Everett schools.
The team, which has been sponsored by National Grid since 2019, is comprised of a small but mighty group of City Year AmeriCorps members who are spending the year leading volunteer events and initiatives. Given the breadth and variety of community assets and needs, these events and initiatives can take different shapes, but one area of support that has been growing in recent years is in STEM.
In Massachusetts, where October 16th-20th is a statewide STEM Week, more than 40 percent of all employment in the Commonwealth revolves around innovation industries such as clean energy, information technology, defense and advanced manufacturing. This percentage is only expected to grow in the coming years but despite the abundance of jobs, just one in six American high school seniors say that they are interested in studying a STEM related field in college. There are also further disparities within that number, with women, students of color, English language learners, and students with disabilities continually being underrepresented in STEM fields. Enhancing STEM skills and fostering a deeper and more equitable interest in these fields is an essential steppingstone to creating an inclusive and evolving economy.
Enhancing STEM skills and fostering a deeper and more equitable interest in these fields is an essential steppingstone to creating an inclusive and evolving economy.
To this end, City Year Greater Boston and the Boston Civic Engagement team support STEM skill-building and exposure on a number of fronts.
First, school-based City Year Greater Boston AmeriCorps members support the development of math skills through intensive tutoring and academic interventions for the students we serve, 90% of whom are students of color and 60% of whom learned a first language other than English. The BCE team supplements this work by providing resources needed to complete assignments and homework and creating bulletin boards to reinforce key concepts. The impact is undeniable, despite the continued statewide stagnation in MCAS scores, 2 out 3 students who were supported by a City Year AmeriCorps member in Math improved their performance and demonstrated growth via course grades and/or standardized assessments during the 22-23 school year.
2 out 3 students who were supported by a City Year AmeriCorps member in Math improved their performance and demonstrated growth via course grades and/or standardized assessments during the 22-23 school year.
Second, the BCE team has worked collaboratively with National Grid as well as school and community partners to develop experimental STEM kits for students to use at school or as a take home enrichment. The kits are customizable depending on the needs of specific schools and in the 22-23 school year, volunteers led by the National Grid BCE team created 3,000 of these kits for Boston and Everett students.
Third, the BCE team has also worked collaboratively with Comcast NBCUniversal to facilitate Hour of Codes for students who may not otherwise have access to this foundational experience. Over the last 3 years, the team has led more than 200 students through Hour of Code activities.
As the Massachusetts’s Annual STEM Week draws to a close, the BCE team and City Year Greater Boston are excited about the work ahead to help students build STEM skills and have access to resources and experiences that can spark a lifelong interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Math.
Some might say my journey to discovering City Year and my passion for working in education was an unconventional one....Read more about The importance of human connection
The best part of my role as an Impact Director with City Year Greater Boston is the opportunity to visit...Read more about How would society be positively impacted by more AmeriCorps members in schools?
My name is Elizabeth Geiser, and I am a Senior AmeriCorps member serving at Tech Boston Academy in Dorchester Massachusetts....Read more about Serving students at a time when they need us the most