To provide innovative approaches to academic interventions, by helping young minds be inquisitive and building their skills in Math and Science; and by guiding them to a path of self-reliance through apprentice training.
OBJECTIVES and GOALS
(1) Promote scientific literacy by helping students discover the relevance and enjoyment of science, technology and mathematics in their everyday lives.
(2) Serve the needs of students in educationally disadvantaged and poverty-ridden communities.
(3) Keep students in school.
(4) Apprenticeship as introduction to 21st century jobs.
Out-of-school time presents an excellent opportunity for students to learn more about how science, technology, engineering, and math are intertwined with the world around them. But even in an afterschool environment, science education program developers and teaching staff may struggle with helping students connect what they are learning to their everyday lives. In order to create meaningful learning, students should be able to emotionally invest hemselves in their work, creating a personal connection that extends beyond academic value and achievement.
As the workplace changes and becomes increasingly global, today’s students must be educated in a 21st century mindset. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills are no longer just “good skills” to have; they are increasingly vital to a 21st century education — students should begin cultivating these skills as early as possible.
Service-learning is a natural environment for STEM-related projects. In one form of service-learning, students use their scientific knowledge to craft a community program — as these students did at L’Anse Creuse Public Schools in Michigan, where they facilitated a recycling event to improve their local environment. Students in high school or college with advanced scientific knowledge can also form community partnerships to mentor students in STEM subjects, as in the Engineers as Teachers program designed by Iridescent (who are also members of the Coalition for Science After School).
A new study demonstrated that California elementary school students have few opportunities for learning science from prepared teachers, despite principals’ and administrators’ views on science as an important subject. Startlingly, only one-third of teachers surveyed reported feeling prepared to teach science, and 85 percent of teachers surveyed have not received any science-related professional development in the last three years. This research further demonstrates the increased need for science content to be emphasized outside of the classroom.
21st century workplace needs skilled laborers. It is becoming imperative for educational institutions to provide a vocational path for students who are not college bound. Apprenticeship programs give this population of students a glimpse of what opportunities are available for them.
“Students are excited about what Apprenticeships offer:
- Simplified requirements
- Achievable goals
- Good wages/benefits
- Hands-on Learning
– Moses de los Reyes, Development Director
Inspire Learning Institute offers innovative approaches to afterschool activities with STEM programs combined with Service-learning programs; and a Pre-apprenticeship program that includes Personal Development and Business Skills. These program swhich are not currently available in Contra Costa County are a much needed solution to the failure of the school systems in addressing the needs of a changing society.