You are here

The Power-of-Discovery: STEM Initiative?


“In a world ever more driven by technology, the state's ability to interest and educate students in fields related to math and science is becoming crucial. As a result, "STEM"—which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—is an increasingly important acronym. From the White House to Sacramento, and from the boardroom to the classroom, "STEM" is on everyone's lips.” –-EdSource, 2011--

What is the Power of Discovery: STEM2 Initiative?

The Power of Discovery: STEM2 is part of the California After School Network (CAN) and California STEM Learning Network’s (CSLNet) effort to mobilize a broad coalition of stakeholders who will work together to increase quality STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning opportunities in Out-of-School Time (OST) programs.  This initiative focuses on the creation and implementation of a robust, statewide system that can deliver high quality STEM experiences during the critical out-of-school time (OST) hours. Programs that operate during these hours include after school programs and summer learning programs.

This initiative is made possible with the generous support and partnership from the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, and the Samueli Foundation

What we will advance

CAN and multiple partners will implement a comprehensive multi-year strategic plan involving the creation of STEM Regional Innovation Support Providers and Virtual Innovation Supports. These support systems will facilitate cross-sector partnerships and increase the professional capacity of OST programs to offer high quality STEM learning opportunities through: 

  • Student-centered activities designed to engage and nurture student interest and curiosity
  • Project and inquiry-based learning  
  • Activities that complement the academic curriculum and incorporate Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards
  • Offering diversified subject matter
  • Offering equitable access to all students (i.e., students of all socioeconomic statuses, genders, ethnicities, linguistic abilities, and exceptional needs)

What outcomes will be achieved?

The Power of Discovery: STEM2 seeks to realize key program, staff, and student outcomes:

  • Program outcomes: An increase in the intensity, duration and quality of STEM learning opportunities.
  • Staff outcomes: An increase in the confidence, competence, and motivation in offering STEM learning opportunities.
  • Student outcomes: An increase in engagement, interest, and applied knowledge of STEM content and processes.
  • Initiative outcomes: The documentation of promising practices, linking of results to specific STEM in OST models, and the sharing of this information with the field in ways that can effectively guide program improvement and expansion efforts.

These efforts are building on the JumpStarting STEM Pilot (2011-2012)

With support from the California Department of Education’s After School Programs Division, the AfterSchool Network has implemented a pilot effort operating in 17 after school programs in all 11 regions of California, representing over 250 sites.  Participating programs recieved access to curriculum and ongoing in-person and virtual professional development.  These efforts supported site level implementation of 30-60 hours of quality STEM curricular programming with consistent student participation.  The pilot was a rigorously evaluated, and results from the pilot will inform the Power of Discovery: STEM2 Initiative.