Boston Public Schools believes that an immersive STEM program is more than just teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills. STEM education is an all encompassing experience that encourages students to solve problems and seek inquiries that are relevant to our current society using science, technology, engineering, and math competencies to address challenges.
In Project Based Learning initiatives, students should be able to identify problems, design possible explanations, and test and evaluate solutions until the best explanation is found. When classrooms mimic the real world scenarios, students are able to problem solve in significant ways.
Work Based Learning complements and enhances STEM education by exposing students to the day to day work that is required in STEM careers in their own community. When students see themselves in STEM careers through an immersive experience, it makes STEM careers more tangible to them.
Sponsored by GE Foundation, the BPS STEM Factor is a program dedicated to engaging BPS students in STEM experiences that are critical to compete in an increasingly technology driven workforce. First piloted in Summer 2017 and expanded upon in Summer of 2018, the program engaged four Boston public high schools – Dearborn STEM Academy, Excel High School, Jeremiah E. Burke High School, and the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science in STEM initiatives. BPS STEM Factor launched as a two-part program featuring work-based learning (WBL) and project-based learning (PBL) initiatives.
WORK BASED LEARNING INITIATIVE:
- Identify students from the participating schools who wanted a STEM-based summer internship
- Place those students with an employer
- Provide support structures to ensure success
Made possible with the help of committed teachers from each school, the Boston Plan for Excellence (BPE), and Career Specialists from the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC).
Prior to and throughout the course of the internship program, students participated in professional development workshops designed to give specific knowledge and technical skills vital to working in STEM.
WERE HOSTED BY MEMBERS OF:
- BPS OFFICE OF INSTRUCTIONAL & INFORMATIONAL TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
- IMPROV ASYLUM
- RED SOX STATISTICS TEAM
Students also experienced a variety of work environments by touring different offices, including Reebok and Autodesk.
At Excel High School, PBL curriculums were designed for the Business Technology pathway in the Summer of 2017. Throughout the 2017-2018 school year, the Young People’s Project (YPP) integrated into the pilot program by assisting in teaching core coding and math competencies. As the next step, the cohort 9th grade class lead coding bootcamps at the Perry, Timilty, McCormack and Edwards middle schools, in order to build STEM literacy in their community.
For the 2018-2019 school year, both initiatives will be expanded to additional schools.
GE Foundation Impact to Date
30 Excel high school students led Python coding bootcamps, reaching 1500 BPS middle school students.
80 Boston Public School students participated in STEM internships.
GE Brilliant Career Lab served 15 BPS high schools, 2,356 students, and 885 educators.
35 Boston Public Schools students from 7 high schools received the JFK-GE Foundation STEM Scholarship.
OTHER PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS
Oliver Hazard K-8 Perry Middle School
James P. Timilty Middle School
John W. McCormack Middle School
Clarence R. Edwards Middle School
and more to come!
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Boston Bar Association
Boston Red Sox
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation
Harvard Medical School
Mass General Hospital
The Nelson Fellowship Program
Northeastern University/Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
State Street Corporation
The Young People's Project/Massachusetts Institute of Technology