Your help could further MMSA’s vision of a brighter STEM future for the State of Maine and the nation. Today, I ask you to support MMSA and become a part of the movement to support exciting new ways for our youth to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math.
The ACRES project (Afterschool Coaching for Rural Educators in STEM) is a major investment by the Noyce Foundation and the National Science Foundation to support high-quality professional development opportunities to out-of-school providers, especially in rural settings.
The heart of the model involves frontline staff in afterschool programs coming together online to share videos of their own interactions with youth. Groups of 4-8 frontline staff meet in person for workshops, then regularly videotape their own work with youth, and discuss their videos with peers and an experienced coach during online small-group coaching sessions. The model recognizes that frontline staff learns best by watching themselves and each other as they practice new skills in a safe setting with a skilled coach.
Adaptations of the model include a newly launched fully virtual version for use in rural communities where afterschool providers are separated by very large distances and cannot easily meet in person.
Based at the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, the ACRES staff are working with a variety state and national organizations that serve youth, such as the University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H program, 21st Century Community Learning Center (21CCLC) Afterschool programs, The Vermont Afterschool Network, STEM Mentors Program, and the Maine Afterschool Network.
The ACRES project also incorporates professional development resources provided on the Click2Science website. The site, which features many short videos of afterschool providers in action, identifies different skills for helping youth explore STEM.
“Of everything I have had so far [professional development experiences], I know this is the one that has had the greatest impact on me. It has really been great for me as a teacher to elevate my ability to get my students to learn for themselves.” ACRES participant from 21st CCLC program.
For a limited period, the ACRES project is offering to lead and/or coach sessions at no cost to participants, thanks to funding from the Noyce Foundation and the National Science Foundation. Our target audience is frontline afterschool, summer, and library staff who want exemplary PD at low cost. Typical courses take approx. 30 hours and cover 3 major STEM facilitation skills. Variations and shorter courses are also available. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
The project has been funded through 2021 plans to expand in scope and reach to impact 500 afterschool providers in multiple states. ACRES project work has been presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, The National Afterschool Association’s Annual Conference and at the Oregon Ask STEM national conference on STEM in afterschool programs.
Sue Allen, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, is the Principal Investigator of this project. Perrin Chick, STEM Education Specialist, serves as the project manager. Joyce Tugel, STEM Education Specialist, provides curriculum and professional development support. Hannah Cunningham and Lynn Farrin, STEM Education Specialists, serve as the project associates. Scott Bryd and Alex Brasili serve as project evaluators.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.