STEM Nexus: Connecting Massachusetts' STEM Community


Fiscal Year 2014 Funding of the Regional STEM Networks

Network Lead Partner Award
Berkshire Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts $40,000
Boston Boston Private Industry Council $40,000
Central UMass Medical School $40,000
Metro North Metro North Regional Employment Board $40,000
Metro West Framingham State University $40,000
Northeast UMass Lowell $40,000
Pioneer Valley UMass Amherst $40,000
Southeast Bridgewater State University $60,000

@Scale Phase III & IV Projects

The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council selected five projects under Phase III and IV of @Scale for endorsement and funding.  Phase III and IV were the last two phases of a four phase process to create a portfolio of projects aligned to the state STEM goals and which cover the spectrum of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects across learning levels.  Phase III specifically addressed STEM goals 2 and 3 of STEM Plan 2.0 (student achievement and skilled educators) in elementary and middle grades and Phase IV addressed STEM goals 1 and 3 (student interest and skilled educators) in pre-k education programs.  The STEM Council awarded a total of $292,244 among the five projects.  The five selected projects are shown in the grid below:

Project Lead Partner Award Private Match Numbers served per semester
Strengthening Pre-K Mathematics Teaching and Learning Boston Public Schools $58,695 $938,000 1,000 children ages 3 to 4
During School In-Class STEM Enrichment Program Science from Scientists $50,000 $150,000 475 students, 16 teachers
Zero Robotics Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership (MAP) $75,000 $350,000 9 teachers
Future City Metro  North Regional Employment Board $75,000 $436,900 10 teachers, 10 mentors, 250 students
Increasing Accessibility to Algebra & Geometry for all students (IAAG) UMass Medical School's Regional Science Resource Ctr. $33,549 $33,595 30 teachers
TOTAL   $292,244 $1,908,495  


@Scale Phase III & IV Project Descriptions

Strengthening Pre-K Mathematics Teaching and Learning

The Boston Public Schools (BPS) received an award of $58,695 to support its proposal to scale up a successful pre-K mathematics program, Building Blocks.  The project, “Strengthening Pre-K Mathematics Teaching and Learning: A Boston K1DS Collaboration between the Boston Public Schools and Boston Community-Based Organizations”, expands from the 2,300 pre-K students in BPS to eventually serve over 6,500 low-income at risk 3 and 4 year-olds in over 200 community-based organizations (CBO). 

This grant begins the process with 14 CBO instructors, their assistants, and their directors in 10 CBOs to create the foundation for a city-wide expansion by providing a program of professional development.  Seven BPS pre-K teacher leaders supply coaching support consisting of co-planning, co-teaching and debriefing mathematics lessons.  All professional development, including classroom-based coaching support, is carefully documented to ensure that this effort can be scaled up into the remaining CBOs in Boston and into other pre-K settings across the state. The project is also carefully evaluated in order to document its design features, its impact on pre-K student engagement and educator effectiveness, and its sustainability over time, thus contributing to the existence of transformative, system-wide, and sustainable improvements that are consistent with the goals described in the Massachusetts STEM plan.


During School In-Class STEM Enrichment Program

Science from Scientists (SfS) received an award of $50,000 to expand its successful “During School In-Class STEM Enrichment Program” to two first-time partner schools in new locations, Winthrop and Plainville.  The funding enables SfS to provide in-class enrichment to 475 new students and allow as many as 16 classroom teachers to enroll in their Professional Development Program.  Student goals include improving students’ attitudes in STEM by working with every student in the classroom, using real, charismatic scientists, and building mentoring relationships.  The measure for this goal will be an increase in the numbers of students who score proficient or higher on the STE MCAS.  Student comprehension is tested throughout the year through the use of pre- and post-quizzes allowing for immediate feedback.  

Teacher effectiveness is addressed by offering PDPs to incentivize teachers to learn science content and integrate the Enrichment Program into their classrooms.  SfS provides each of their participating school teachers a “Teacher Prep” document that accompanies each of their 80+ lessons.  This content-rich document:  a) identifies which MCAS standards are addressed by the lesson, b) lists key vocabulary, and c) links identifies to free online resources such as videos, audio, interview transcripts, FAQs, games, and articles specifically chosen to help increase teacher content knowledge about the featured STEM topic.


Zero Robotics

Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership (MAP) received an award of $75,000 to scale up its Zero Robotics program beyond the Boston area.  The program is described as a fun, flexible yet rigorous summer STEM program for middle school students with a key element of targeting under-served and under-represented youth.  Over 5-weeks during the summer, students work in teams to learn about computer programming, robotics and space engineering while gaining hands-on experience working with and coding SPHERES (Synchronized Position, Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites).  The program culminates in a tournament where each team competes for a spot to operate and race a SPHERE satellite against other teams aboard the International Space Station (ISS). 

A full curriculum has been designed to support in-school and out-of-school educators in the use of Zero Robotics.  MAP uses @Scale funds to develop a comprehensive teacher training program to train perspective Zero Robotics educators and their regional partners across each of the seven Regional STEM networks. Additionally, MAP gathers evidence that shows the impact of summer learning opportunities on student interest, academic growth and teacher efficacy.


Future City – Competition Working Cities Expansion Project

Future City is a team based transformative educational program designed for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students in which students imagine and design cities of the future and explain the underlying technologies and design principles that would make their city possible. Students create both physical scale models and virtual models (utilizing SimCity software), prepare presentations/Q&A responses, and write research documents as part of their engineering design process.  Although all STEM disciplines are used in the competition, the emphasis is on engineering. The Future City Program addresses Student Academic Achievement (Goal 2) and Student Interest at the elementary and middle school levels. The program also addresses Educator Effectiveness (Goal 5) by providing teaching and learning tools to educators on STEM topics such as free learning blocks, as well as free seminars and trainings.

The program goals include:  1) Adding 10 more school teams to the NE Future City Regional Competition from the Working Cities cohort over the 2013-2014 competition period; 2) Evaluating the effectiveness of the implementation of the competition program in these new school partners;  3) Creating materials for schools so they can attract new participants, volunteers and sponsors for continued Future City participation after the grant period has ended; and  4) Growing the existing NE Future City Competition program infrastructure so it can effectively support the needs of the Working Cities participants.

The Working Cities to be served under this grant are: Chelsea, Everett, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Revere, Salem, and Somerville.


Increasing Accessibility to Algebra & Geometry for All Students (IAAG)

IAAG is a teacher professional development project, which offers foundational math content and pedagogical strategies for general education, inclusion and special education mathematics teachers of grades 5 through 10.  It has been especially helpful for teachers in “high needs” districts. It strengthens teachers’ understanding of concepts and relationships among concepts within various domains including Operations and Algebraic Thinking; Equations and Expressions; Functions; and Geometry. Teachers learn universal design strategies and techniques to increase accessibility of rigorous mathematics to a broad range of learners.

Since 2006, sixteen sections of IAAG have been implemented throughout the state impacting 480 teachers and over 10,000 students in Revere, Worcester, Pittsfield, Springfield, Wilmington, Fitchburg, Leominster, Salem, and Southbridge with some schools holding repeat trainings.  The IAAG training has been vetted and approved for both the Massachusetts’ Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) Professional Development Institute (PDI) and the District and School Assistance Centers (DSAC). The RSRC is a preferred vendor for the state to offer professional development.



May 22

Launch of STEM Week in MetroWest

Jun 8

Central MA STEM Network: TouchTomorrow at WPI!

Sep 25

Southeast STEM Network: Advisory Board Meeting

STEM In the News
This website is supported by the STEM Pipeline Fund, a state trust account administered by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to support STEM initiatives.