At a Glance
ACRES is a nationally acclaimed coaching program that builds knowledge and skills so afterschool educators, librarians and anyone who works with youth in out-of-school settings can confidently facilitate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) experiences for youth. Thanks to generous funding from several national foundations, the program is currently offered at no cost to participants. The program was launched in 2015 as a project of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance.
Participating in the ACRES series will help afterschool educators build facilitation skills and confidence in STEM. Educators who participate in the program will:
- Gain exposure to current research surrounding STEM education for youth.
- Access new ways of interacting with youth and other ways to teach STEM skills.
- Develop mastery in using technology for learning new skills.
- Build relationships with peers who are doing similar work.
- Experience personalized professional development to deepen skills.
- Earn contact hours and a certificate of participation.
What we do:
Coaching for Afterschool Educators
The heart of the ACRES model involves afterschool educators coming together virtually to share videos of their own interactions with youth. Groups of 4-8 educators meet in person for workshops, then regularly videotape their own work with youth, and discuss their videos with peers and an experienced coach during virtual small-group coaching sessions. The model recognizes that educators learn best by watching themselves and each other as they practice new skills in a safe setting with a skilled coach.
Training for Coaches
Many ACRES participants go on to coach cohorts of their own. The ACRES coaching cohort brings together experienced ACRES educators and afterschool leaders to learn how to effectively coaching afterschool educators. These coaches receive professional development in a community of peer coaches, under the leadership of an expert STEM coach. They apply their learning by supporting afterschool educators as they improve their STEM offerings. ACRES coaches gather regularly to reflect on their own practice as coaches.