Funding and partnership with College Board will create up to 500 Advanced Placement STEM education courses for underrepresented U.S. high school students
December 4, 2012 – New York – DonorsChoose.org, an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need, has received a $5 million Google Global Impact Award. DonorsChoose.org will use that funding to increase the number of Advanced Placement (AP) science, technology engineering and math (STEM) courses across the country and provide college-level learning to a broader, more diverse group of students.
“DonorsChoose.org is honored to be recognized by this groundbreaking award program that supports innovative organizations that are making a real difference,” said Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org.” The funds will open the door for bright, eager students and teachers who would otherwise be shut out of advanced learning and a promising career path.”
DonorsChoose.org recognizes that, as a nation, the U.S. is not graduating enough STEM majors to support the highly skilled positions of the future. According to the U.S Department of Labor, there will be more than 1 million job openings in STEM-related fields by 2018. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, only 16 percent of U.S. bachelor’s degrees will specialize in STEM.
Many of today’s students also do not have access to a range of AP courses. College Board has identified that only 19 percent of AP computer science test takers are female. Additionally, only 30 percent of Hispanic/Latino students with high AP potential are currently taking AP courses. Even fewer African American students – 20 percent – with high potential are currently benefitting from AP courses. In many cases, these low percentages are a direct result of the budget shortfall across U.S. public high schools.
To help bridge this gap, DonorsChoose.org will use the Google Global Impact Award funding to form a strategic partnership with College Board that will inspire females and underrepresented minorities to excel in advanced math and science courses. The goal of the partnership, officially named the AP STEM Access program, is to jump start up to 500 new AP courses in STEM subjects at U.S. high schools where large populations of females or minorities are currently underrepresented.
“When advanced math and science classes aren’t as diverse as the schools themselves, kids lose out,” said Jacquelline Fuller, director of Giving at Google. “Donorschoose.org’s new initiative applies forward-thinking approaches for getting more girls and under-represented students into advanced math and science courses, allowing them to explore new passions and pursue tomorrow’s most exciting careers.”
As part of AP STEM Access, DonorsChoose.org will facilitate scholarships for educators to attend professional development courses to prepare them to teach AP courses. Additionally, DonorsChoose.org will provide seed money for the classroom resources and educational materials needed to launch the new AP classes. Qualifying teachers will also receive a $100 gift card to reinvest into their classroom for each student who earns a 3, 4 or 5 on an AP exam in a STEM course.
Class funding will vary from $2,500 up to $10,000 based on the needs of the specific class. For example, an AP Biology class – which requires beakers, safety glasses and other costly supplies – could receive $8,500 while an AP Calculus class could receive $3,000 for books and basic materials. All funding will be provided to College Board in the form of DonorsChoose.org gift cards, which College Board will disperse to participating schools.
“We are very grateful to Google for their generous support and look forward to working with DonorsChoose.org to help underrepresented students develop the critical thinking and reasoning skills that are essential for college and career success,” said David Coleman, president of College Board.
College Board has invited more than 800 U.S. public high schools to participate in the AP STEM Access program. To qualify, schools must have a large population of underrepresented students with high AP potential as indicated by their PSAT/NMSQT scores. Additionally, the school must serve a community with a median family income that is less than $100,000 and/or more than 40 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch. For more information about school eligibility and program timing, including a full list of qualifying schools, please visit collegeboard.org/apstem.
Founded in 2000, DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post requests, and individuals can give directly to the ones that inspire them. To date, 237,000 public and charter school teachers have used DonorsChoose.org to secure more than $120 million in books, art supplies, technology, and other resources that their students need to learn.