The purpose of the California Department of Education (CDE) Expanded Learning Division's POD: STEM is to further the work of the California Afterschool Network and the POD:STEM2 funders by developing models of quality STEM in expanded learning programs. This pilot program is designed to increase the quantity and quality of STEM learning opportunities available to children and youth participating in expanded learning programs, and to build the confidence and competence of staff facilitating STEM learning in expanded learning settings.
An additional focus of the pilot, will be to eventually promote the extension of these opportunities statewide so that all expanded learning programs in California would have the opportunity and resources to engage in quality STEM learning.
The Orange County Power of Discovery:STEM will be accomplished through the establishment of STEM Hubs (formerly identified as RISP) and a regionally-based system of support that will serve as a mechanism for developing the capacity of local school districts and community organizations. As a result, expanded learning programs will be able to provide more quality STEM learning opportunities to young people, build staff efficiency, and increase program capacity to facilitate STEM learning activities in expanded learning programs.
In 2010, key education and philanthropic leaders in California developed learning strategies aimed at integrating quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) into expanded learning programs. Through the development of the Regional Innovation Support Providers (RISP) network, the expansive initiative aims to build collaborative and effective partnerships between schools and after school organizations through the mobilization of a broad coalition of community partners including higher education and business and industry with STEM expertise and resources to engage California's students in the hands-on exploration and practice of STEM. The OC STEM Initiative was one of the five regional partnerships in California providing critical support for STEM learning and teaching in afterschool, summer and other out-of-school time programs through the Power of Discover:STEM2 statewide initiative.
The following members were a part of the Orange County initial implementation team:
Discovery Science Center
OC STEM Initiative
Orange County Department of Education
Tiger Woods Learning Center
The POD:STEM2 was supported by the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation (CDEF), the California After School Network (CAN), the California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet), and the following funders: the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, and the Samueli Foundation.
According to the U.S Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration (July 2014), STEM jobs will have grown 17% in comparison to non-STEM jobs at 9.8% from 2008 - 2018.
The structure of Expanded Learning (out-of-school time) Programs allows for students to be exposed to additional hands-on, minds-on activities that promote 21st century skill building through meaningful, real-world projects. This avenue encourages strong alignment with the traditional school day and welcomes the partnership with school day educators and expanded learning programs to build on and provide these opportunities. With the high demand and growth of STEM jobs, particularly in Orange County, these programs can provide students with the opportunities for career exposure and allow them to have the needed skill sets to expand on for the jobs of tomorrow.
STEM Learning allows for intentional staff facilitation of the specific 21st century skills (skill sets that will be needed for successful college and career pathways): Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity, and Perseverance.
STEM Learning can fit into each of the Point of Service Quality Standards for Expanded Learning, so no matter which standard your site is focusing on for the Continuous Quality Improvement Process (CQI2), STEM can fit into your program!
For more Information
on STEM in Expanded Learning Programs check out the following reports below:
"A Framework for Quality STEM Learning in Expanded Learning Programs", a document from the California AfterSchool Network.
The America After 3PM report from Afterschool Alliance
"After-school settings are optimal for providing engaging, hands-on STEM experiences, enabling students to apply, reinforce, and extend skills and concepts taught in school. And they are particularly conducive to project-based activities where a wide variety of children can participate in the design, construction, investigation, sense-making, and communication of science projects" (Coalition for Science After School. (2004))
Afterschool's role in preparing a STEM Ready America - Afterschool Snack Blog Post
STEM Ready America
For an interesting article on Youth Voice and a strong example of a hands-on activity, check out this article, "After-school Science Begins With a Bounce"
Are you looking for ways to bring more youth voice into your programs? Check out these 5 Strategies!
As part of our practice to build a broad coalition of community partners we developed a Steering Committee for the work of the RISP, now the STEM Hub. Our Steering Committee is comprised of key leaders within Out-of-School Time learning programs within our region. These leaders come together four times a year to meet and discuss the needs of the field overall and the direction of the STEM Hub work. We appreciate their expertise and support they provide our activities throughout the year.
Anaheim Family YMCA - Anaheim Achieves
Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove
- Debbie Jauch, Vice President of Programs
- Teresa Ayon, Program Director
Discovery Cube, Orange County
- Mark Surmanian, Executive Director
- Tina Rolewicz, Vice President of Education
Girls Inc. of Orange County
- CynDee Zandes, Chief Executive Officer
Inside the Outdoors
- Lucy Santana, Chief Executive Officer
- Stephanie Smith, Operations Manager
Orange County Department of Education
- Bill Izabal, President and Founder
Rocket Science Tours
- Jeanne Awrey, Manager Students Support Services After School Programs/Homeless Education
- Davide Janich, Board Member
- Nino Polizzi, CEO/Founder
Tiger Woods Foundation
- Gerald Solomon, Executive Director
- Michelle Freeman, Program Officer
Westminster School District
- Kathy Bihr, Vice President, Programs & Education
- Gyla Bell, Senior Director, Programs
- Beverlee Mathenia, Executive Director Early Education & Expanded Learning
Interested in learning more about the Steering Committee? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org