“Youth Inspired Challenge” by a coalition of science centers and museums: 350 science centers and science museums, with leadership from the Association of Science-Technology Centers and local corporate and foundation support, are pledging to offer 2 million hours of science enrichment to at least 25,000 youth in all 50 states, with an emphasis on girls and underrepresented minorities.

Transforming Libraries and Museums into 21st Century Learning Labs: In partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation will fund the creation of 30 new hands-on learning (“YOUMedia”) centers across the country. These centers, based on YOUMedia Center at the Chicago Public Library, will become hubs for youth engagement, creativity and hands-on learning, advancing Obama’s goal of empowering young people to be “makers and creators of things, rather than consumers.” MacArthur and IMLS will provide more than $4 million in planning grants over a three-year period, and will be joined by a number of partners such as the Knight, Pearson, Mozilla, and Grable Foundations, and the Chicago and New York Community Trusts.

Raytheon’s New STEM Tool for State Policymakers: Raytheon will leverage its engineering workforce and expertise in modeling and simulation to expand its national “STEM Modeling Tool” to the state level, allowing policymakers to identify promising STEM education interventions to expand the STEM-ready workforce, based on the specific characteristics and assets of each state. In total, Raytheon has committed to investing $55 million in STEM programs over the next five years.

National Math Science Initiative’s (NMSI) To Assist Military Families: In partnership with Lockheed Martin and Military Child Education Coalition, NMSI will announce a new effort to expand access to Advanced Placement (AP) classes in STEM subjects to public high schools that serve a large number of military families.  This initiative starts this fall with four schools serving Fort Campbell and Fort Hood.  Additional corporate partners will provide support for an additional three schools in Fall 2011. NMSI’s support program for AP classes will make it possible to offer college-level courses for children in military families that will travel with them if they are transferred, because the AP curriculum is consistently uniform regardless of the district they may attend. The curriculum, which is reinforced with intensive teacher training by NMSI, will help children in military families build a future of college-readiness wherever duty calls.

Nature Publishing’s “Bridge to Science” Program for Parents and Scientists: Nature Publishing, parent company of science publications such as Scientific American and Nature, will make a three year, $5.5 million commitment to a series of programs to build stronger connections between parents, students, and scientists, including providing parents easy-to-do experiments, and creating an online platform for parents and children to become “citizen scientists.” In addition, Nature and its affiliated journals will provide cost-free professional development for biology teachers interested in incorporating cutting-edge science, and recruit 1,000 scientist-readers to participate in classrooms through efforts such as National Lab Day.

New Efforts to Bring Passions of Scientists and Engineers into Classrooms: HP will be launching a major US-wide employee volunteering initiative to improve STEM education.  They will provide matching donations for volunteer hours, recruit scientist and engineer retirees, start a major collaboration with Donors Choose and National Lab Day, and engage HP business partners to also expand employee volunteering. They will also launch the HP Catalyst Initiative, a global network of education leaders in STEM dedicated to developing more effective learning experiences for students. In addition, the biotechnology industry, with leadership from the Biotechnology Institute, is announcing a “Scientists in the Classroom” Campaign to train and deploy scientists from companies in high-impact collaborations with teachers and students on laboratory projects in high schools.  Eight founding biotechnology companies have already pledged over $4M to the effort.  In partnership with efforts such as Citizen Schools and National Lab Day, the program will be launched in communities this fall in 10 states, reaching a run-rate of 1,000 life scientists assisting in schools over five years.

Multi-Year Investments in STEM Programs: ExxonMobil will commit to investing $120M in STEM education programs over three years, impacting thousands of teachers and students. This will include major investments in scaling programs with a track record of success, such as the UTeach and AP programs through its support of the National Math and Science Initiative. Merck will launch a five-year $19.5M investment to support science education in schools, and for the first-time, focus on the multi-year partnership with a large urban school district near Merck facilities.  This will include a multi-year partnership with Newark Public Schools to co-design an intensive professional development program for both teachers and administrators, expanding every year with the goal of district-wide adoption.

About the Author:

Meris Stansbury

Meris Stansbury is the Editorial Director for both eSchool News and eCampus News, and was formerly the Managing Editor of eCampus News. Before working at eSchool Media, Meris worked as an assistant editor for The World and I, an online curriculum publication. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2006 with a BA in English, and enjoys spending way too much time either reading or cooking.