We’re excited to share that thanks to the Freescale Foundation, our Target Graduation program will grow the quality of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in Austin. Nearly 150 students will benefit from Out-of-School Time programs that are safer, more supportive and more engaging for youth as a result of Freescale’s investment.
Thanks to UWATX Investments in STEM:
Children will gain basic skills in math and literacy
Families will prepare their children for school using technology
Students will benefit from higher quality after school & summer STEM programs
STEM programs teach students the foundational knowledge and skills that are critical for careers in engineering and technology. However, research shows only programs that provide high-quality instruction paired with youth engagement and focused learning activities lead to improved academic outcomes for students, while programs that do not exhibit these traits show no effect on school performance.
Unfortunately, without metrics for quality or training for staff, organizations are struggling to know whether or not their STEM programs are setting students up for school success.
Thanks to this new grant, we will partner with five select STEM-focused nonprofit programs to provide instructors with training, assessment tools tailored for STEM quality and coaching to implement research-based techniques. We will implement the Center For Youth Program Quality model, which is used by after-school networks in 27 states and has been shown to improve program quality, increase staff retention and generate lasting improvements for programs that still remain a year after the intervention.
This new effort will expand on our existing work in Youth Program Quality, where we’ve assessed 600 providers – helping nearly 10,000 students enjoy safer, more challenging, more inspiring programs outside of school time.
This project also builds on our work in early childhood, where we’ve been providing STEM education through our Success By 6 Center Project and Play To Learn.
In the Center Project, we are implementing a math curriculum as well as a literacy curriculum that will help 115 children gain basic skills in math and language development. We’ve also provided a science-based health curriculum that teaches young children about the systems in their bodies and how to take care of them.
Play To Learn, on the other hand, is a program developed by UWATX specifically to help low-income parents better understand how to support their child’s school readiness while introducing them to technology to help bridge the digital divide. Research has evaluated the program as highly effective.
In this new endeavor, UWATX will promote high-quality STEM learning in after school and summer programs and create a greater system that supports STEM quality throughout the Austin region – read the full summary on our investments in STEM.