STEM Nexus: Connecting Massachusetts' STEM Community

@Scale Grant Program

What is @Scale?
What are the Characteristics of @Scale Projects?
Why @Scale? - The History
STEM Council Endorsement: What does it mean?


What is @Scale?

The STEM Advisory Council created the @Scale program in 2010 in order to focus public and private resources on a set of high quality STEM pipeline projects that are aligned with the goals outlined in the Commonwealth’s STEM Plan. All @Scale projects have a history of successful outcomes and the ability to be easily replicated and brought to scale.

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What are the Characteristics of @Scale Projects?

Projects selected by the MA STEM Advisory Council to be part of the @Scale portfolio exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Meet existing state standards & policies
  • Have responsible grantee histories
  • Exhibit best practice methods
  • Are well established
  • Are ready to, and designed for, scale - growth or replication
  • Are sustainable without @Scale funds
  • Have the ability to attract external resources
  • Benefit students, educators, and/or workforce
  • Demonstrate clear potential for desired outcomes
  • Have necessary partnerships
  • Are committed to evaluation

For details, download PDF @Scale Project Characteristics

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Why @Scale? - The History

@Scale was conceived and developed in response to the question of how Massachusetts could invest strategically and with an expectation of predictable and measurable outcomes through the plethora of competing STEM education projects?  Educators called for guidance in their process of adopting projects that demonstrate efficacy in teaching and learning practices and that align with statewide strategies, curriculum standards and frameworks. Funders sought similar guidance to better inform their investment of philanthropic resources in support of local education priorities and to achieve strategic, statewide impacts. @Scale, with its focus on public and private resources in support of an integrated portfolio of education enhancement projects aligned to achieve the goals of the Commonwealth’s STEM plan and a streamlined process for identifying such projects, answered this call. 

@Scale was launched in 2010 as a pilot initiative.  The initiative rolled out in phases, with each phase aligned to address one or two of the state STEM Plan goals.  Phase I focused on the goals of student interest and achievement. Phase II addressed the goals of improving post-secondary graduation rates and fulfilling near-term workforce shortages.  Phase III & IV, which were combined, focused on projects that addressed student achievement and educator effectiveness in elementary and middle grade levels and/or student interest and educator effectiveness in pre-K education programs.  Naturally, in every phase of the selection process, the Council also considered the project’s history of successful outcomes and its ability to easily replicate and grow.  The grid below provides a visual on how the portfolio of currently endorsed projects addresses the spectrum of science, technology engineering and mathematics across learning levels.

@Scale Portfolio Coverage Map

@Scale Portfolio Coverage Map

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STEM Council Endorsement: What does it mean?

Each @Scale project is considered to be endorsed by the STEM Advisory Council. The STEM Advisory Council endorsement is intended to signal to the STEM community—both participants and investors—that a project is a high quality STEM program, supports the growth of the STEM Pipeline, and is aligned with the five goals of the STEM Plan. @Scale Projects also have the additional characteristics of being ready to scale and are sustainable at its current size.

Projects that are endorsed by the STEM Council have gone through an extensive review process, and it monitors these projects on an on-going basis. However, there are many excellent projects in the Commonwealth that are not endorsed by the Council because of its very specific focus on the goals of the STEM plan, because of the characteristics of the @Scale model, or because the projects have not applied for endorsement.

The Council is in the process of determining how it will endorse projects, including those in the @Scale portfolio, going forward. Please check back for more information on how you can submit your project for endorsement in the future.

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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.