Tuesday, November 14 • 10:55am - 11:45am
Modest Funding with Big STEM Impacts: 5-Year District Partnership Increases Enriched STEM Learning

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A strong multiyear partnership is inspiring student STEM learning and teacher effectiveness in two high-needs urban districts in Massachusetts: Lowell and Worcester. In Lowell for six years, this partnership is rooted in the district’s vision and strategic plan for STEM, and partners participate in district-wide STEM planning meetings.

Hear from district leaders and STEM coordinators about how the partnership works, data on why it has been successful in impacting student learning and school culture, and what new challenges it addresses.

Three key areas of the partnership are funded by MSSEF’s Curious Minds Initiative (http://scifair.com/curious-minds) and leverage each other’s impact: (1) STEM teacher professional development; (2) mini-grants for schools to expand student research opportunities and build a science fair program; and (3) mentoring for students working on STEM innovation projects. In Lowell, mentoring became the focus of the district’s weekly afterschool STEM Club, and student participation grew rapidly by word-of-mouth - from a few students to over 250 who opt to stay after school over four months. A STEM Facilitator recruits and coordinates mentors (STEM professionals and college majors) and is a resource to participating STEM teachers. All eight middle schools opted in, and the district now funds their teachers’ stipends. Total costs for the ramped-up program are remarkably low, ~$130/student/year, including student materials, teacher PD and stipends, and showcase events.

This partnership model was designed from the start to be adapted by other districts. Please join us for discussion of successes and challenges, and learn how your school(s) can benefit.


Barnas G. Monteith

President, Tumblehome Learning


Kathy Berube

K-12 Science & Engineering Liaison, Worcester Public Schools

Maureen Binienda

Superintendent, Worcester Public Schools

Martha Cohn

STEM Coordinator, Lowell Public Schools

William F. Rigney

STEM Educational Consultant

Tuesday November 14, 2017 10:55am - 11:45am
Meeting Room C