An interest in the sciences and the motivation to explore is essential for producing not only higher earnings, but a better quality of life and opportunities that will sustain America's competitiveness in a global society.
Never before has it been so important to encourage, inspire, and prepare the next generation of American scientists. Recognizing this critical need, the Afterschool Alliance, the National Summer Learning Association, and the National AfterSchool Association have joined together in support of increasing high quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) learning opportunities for children and youth during out-of-school hours. Considering how science impacts our nation's strategic interests and security, we encourage our members and stakeholders to join forces with school personnel to increase the capacity of afterschool professionals to deliver instruction and engage learners in high quality STEM activities. This initiative is not just another add-on, but a means to increasing awareness, achieving innovative learning, and preparing students to lead the scientific world.
According to the National Science Foundation, eighty percent of jobs created in the next decade will require math and science skills. Afterschool programs are excellent venues to extend and enrich STEM lessons that are taught during the regular school day and help prepare our current learners for those jobs. Schools alone cannot and should not be expected to do this preparatory work. NAA and its partners pledge to align our efforts with school and community initiatives by providing professional development for afterschool providers to become STEM leaders. We also intend to inspire young minds, raise awareness and capacity, connect practitioners with resources, and advocate for policies that will support this important work now and in the future.
To see what is happening with STEM initiatives elsewhere, visit these online resources:
- Afterschool Alliance
- Education Equity Center at AED
- Children's Nature Network
- FIRST Robotics
- Full STEM Ahead!: New Jersey's Afterschool Stem Initiative
- National Afterschool Association Year of Science Convention Workshops
- National 4-H Council
- National Science Foundation
- National Summer Learning Association
- Noyce Foundation
- STEM Education Coalition
- STEM School Blog
- STEM Survey Article February 2011
- Afterschool: A Vital Partner in STEM Education