Become a STEM Coach through the ACRES project

Become a STEM Coach through the ACRES project

Improve your program or network and move the needle on STEM in afterschool.

Contact us at acres@mmsa.org for information on upcoming cohorts. 

How it works:

As a STEM coach, you will receive professional development in a community of peer coaches, under the leadership of an expert STEM coach. You will apply your learning by teaching afterschool educators to improve their STEM offerings. Along the way, you will learn, reflect, and share your experience with your coaches’ cohort, all the while collecting resources and guides to support your work with afterschool educators. The project takes place from August through December.

Who should become a coach? Those who:

  • Are passionate about the importance of high-quality afterschool programming.
  • Want to encourage and support more STEM activities and practices (like critical thinking, creativity, arguing from evidence, the joy of exploring concepts, etc.) in afterschool.
  • Are willing to learn and reflect on their coaching in a supportive cohort of other coaches.
  • Want to learn about technology that can expand their coaching practice, like recording and uploading videos to secure cloud sharing sites, and video conferencing.

What are the benefits of becoming a coach?

  • Improve your own personal skillset and become a more effective facilitator.
  • Learn from your peers under the guidance of an expert STEM coach.
  • Earn a stipend: $200 for research participation, $50 for a follow up interview.
  • Learn how to use the Zoom interactive video conferencing platform as a vehicle for fully online and blended versions of professional development.
  • Be one of the few to participate in this innovative and meaningful project to improve the skills of afterschool educators across the country through online coaching.

What facilitation skills will you build?

  • Understand how to select ACRES materials and learning resources while developing a set of relatable examples from the field.
  • Practice how to deliver both positive and constructive feedback to support participants’ improvement of their STEM practice.
  • Learn facilitation techniques for guiding your own cohort in a reflective, productive discussion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where will the training sessions take place?

Every session you participate in will be held virtually over Zoom video conferencing. This means you can join from your office, your home, or anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection. When you host your own ACRES group, you will have the option to meet in person and/or virtually.

How will the afterschool educators be recruited?

This is up to you. We expect that you will have a pool of educators (e.g. leaders of afterschool networks, program leaders, professional development providers, etc.) to work with in the project.

How many contact hours will I earn?

You will participate in 10 hours of professional development across five sessions as you train to become a coach. In addition, you will lead your own ACRES cohort for 6 hours across three sessions. You will likely spend a handful of hours outside of meeting times in order to do your own preparations and reflection. This will vary by person.

Which STEM skills will I learn to teach?

During the training process, you will lead your group of afterschool educators through the Asking Purposeful Questions module. The module will include a workshop session and two follow-up coaching sessions. By the end of three sessions, the afterschool educators in your cohort will be able to:

  • Reflect on how purposeful questions can increase STEM learning.
  • Use open-ended questions with youth.
  • Ask clarifying and probing follow-up questions to get students to explain their thinking.
  • Use wait time to allow all students time to think.
  • Use whole and small-group discussion management techniques such as “think-pair-share.”

What technology will I need?

You will need a computer with a webcam and access to high-speed internet.

Do I need to be tech-savvy?

If you have ever participated in online learning (webinar, course, meeting, etc.), you likely have all the tech knowledge you need. We will provide coaching on how to use the online platform, how to be prepared for the inevitable occasional glitch, and how to record yourself leading sessions with educators (for feedback from your coaching cohort).

What is the timeline for the project?

The coaches’ cohort will begin professional development in August, and will run through December. The expectation is that each coach’s educator cohort will meet 3 times through October and November. You will schedule those yourself.