Though there are significant resources available in the New York City public education system for educational enrichment activities like field trips, curricular supplements, and after-school programs, there is no comprehensive source of information on available options, and principals and teachers often must rely on personal relationships and word of mouth to discover appropriate opportunities. Moreover, when schools do find an educational enrichment provider they have interest in partnering with, these organizations are often unprepared for the bureaucratic processes necessary for accessing city funds, like procurement paperwork or getting background clearances.
The NYC STEM Education Network (“the Network”) supports the community of STEM learning providers across the five boroughs. Hosted by ExpandED Schools, an intermediary nonprofit organization that delivers full-scale learning and development opportunities to students and educators throughout New York City public schools, the Network brings together over 150 city agencies, schools, afterschool programs, youth-serving organizations, science museums, universities, public and private funders, and intermediaries with an interest in STEM. The Network hosts regular community convenings to spark new ideas, deepen partnerships, and collaborate on ways to serve overlapping communities or increase their reach.
The Network hosts district-level outreach and “speed-dating” events to introduce schools to a wide range of local after-school STEM providers and provides micro-grants of up to $5,000 to support initial school / STEM provider partnerships.
Grant funds will allow the Network to continue and scale up these activities over the next two years, targeting six NYC school districts that most lack STEM enrichment opportunities, supporting an estimated 5,000 underserved NYC public school students. In addition, they will continue to run technical workshops for Network members on how to navigate NYC policies and processes, and generally support the growing community of STEM learning providers in the City.