Past Education Projects
Past Education Projects
Making STEM a Priority
From building video game controllers with conductive playdough to creating stop motion animation videos to building spaghetti and marshmallow towers, the students fortunate enough to land a coveted spot at 9 Dots Community Learning Center’s free after-school program in Los Angeles are developing a passion for STEM (academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math).
Driven by young Stanford graduates who traded comfortable corporate careers for community service that put their own STEM skills to task, 9 Dots opened its doors in 2011, and in doing so, opened the doors for underserved youth to a world that makes science, technology, engineering and math fun and exciting.
The organization was inspired by the 9 dots puzzle, a 3 x 3 grid that drives students to think outside of the box to solve challenges – the kind of innovative thinking that is at the foundation of 9 Dots’ teaching philosophy.
Based in Los Angeles, Calif., this nonprofit helps economically disadvantaged students – many of whom are minorities – develop the engineering, language and creative skills they need to become 21st century innovators. Unequal opportunities and lack of access have long impacted lower achievement in math and science, leaving underserved youth like these unprepared to pursue a career in STEM. Only 12 percent of the STEM workforce are currently African American or Latino.
This innovative program not only strengthens academic fundamentals through enrichment curriculum, but also creates original STEM projects that teach exploration, inquiry and innovation. Students build a newfound confidence and master the skills that prepare them to succeed in the careers that are among the fastest-growing and most lucrative occupations of the future – a future that is estimated to offer about 2.4 million new job opportunities by 2020.
For these underserved youth, dreams and aspirations can be realized. By choosing STEM, they choose a better future.
For more information: www.9dots.org
Zoo Project Introduces Sixth Graders to Project-Based, Maker-Education Model
Women comprise half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce. And, minority women comprise fewer than 1 in 10 employed scientists and engineers.
The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders (ARS), an all-girls, college-preparatory public school, is determined to change the narrative. As the only 6th-12th grade school in the Austin Independent School District where STEM is a rule and not an exception for every student, ARS is preparing today’s female students to become tomorrow’s STEM leaders.
Through rigorous and cross-disciplinary STEM curriculum, ARS inspires girls to build solutions for the 21st century. The All Points North Foundation grant supports “Modeling the Zoo Project” where all sixth graders research and create enrichment solutions for rescue animals at the Austin Zoo.
Students use the on-campus MakerSpace to develop their design and building skills using technology and power tools. The Zoo Project launches students into the project-based, Maker education model that is centered on collaborative, hands-on learning and is inherent throughout ARS.
ARS staff will also attend their first Project-Based Learning World Conference to learn and share best practices as they prepare curriculum and formalize the Maker model from idea generation through the final product. Throughout the year, an interactive display board will provide visual insights into the stages of the project, emphasizing “process over product.”
As a national leader and innovator in this space, ARS will incorporate teacher- and self-assessment of the process and growth in students’ 5Cs (collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking and community) for further assessment and replication.
For more information: www.annrichardsschool.org
Teaching Fellows Excellence Initiative Prepares Next Generation of Inspired, Diverse Educational Leaders
To address the urgent national need for a more diverse teaching force, Breakthrough Collaborative’s Teaching Fellows Excellence Initiative provides aspiring educators with the opportunity to gain firsthand experience as classroom teachers. Each summer more than 1,000 of the nation’s brightest undergraduates participate in nine-week teaching residencies. The unique students-teaching-students model focuses not only on reversing summer slide and promoting student academic growth, but also developing Teaching Fellows professionally and supporting their leadership development for those returning to teach for multiple summers.
This second All Points North Foundation grant helps Breakthrough enhance curriculum for Teaching Fellows, particularly for the 25 percent who return. Once alumni, Teaching Fellows then have access to a robust online platform and a virtual community of news updates, career and professional development opportunities, and training.
The nation’s largest pre-professional teacher training program, Breakthrough has proven to be a powerful pipeline for the next generation of inspired, diverse educational leaders with many Teaching Fellow alumni recruited by the top teacher residencies and graduate schools across the country. Teaching Fellows are 63 percent people of color compared to 18 percent of teachers nationwide; 40 percent are first-generation college graduates and 27 percent are male. Additionally, a growing percentage of Teaching Fellows were once Breakthrough students themselves.
Emerging evidence suggests that a diverse teaching force, like the one that Breakthrough is intentionally building, has the promising potential to motivate underserved minority students to attain greater educational success. In 2018, Breakthrough’s students were 96 percent students of color and almost half of students lived in a home where English is not the primary language.
Grants from All Points North Foundation help Breakthrough support its students, teaching fellows, and instructional coaches in achieving their full potential as learners, teachers, leaders, and agents of change.
For more information: www.breakthroughcollaborative.org
Codes for Good Initiative Computes for Broward Middle Schools
Computer programming jobs are growing at twice the national average with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Science Foundation predicting there will be one million more jobs than students entering the field by 2020.
Middle schoolers in Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), however, have a jumpstart on becoming creators of technology and STEM career pathways, thanks to the District’s #BrowardCODES for social good initiative and its BURST (Broward Unifying Robotics, Science & Technology) program. This program provides a comprehensive middle grade curriculum addressing community problem solving using technology.
Spotlighted by the White House as a national model for expanding access to computer science in schools, more than 50,000 students have already been positively impacted by computer science at all BCPS K-12 schools.
All Points North Foundation’s grant will see an additional 30 middle schools offering extracurricular opportunities to participate in #BrowardCODES for social good.
BCPS became the first school district in the nation to partner with Code.org to increase access to computer science courses, curriculum, and resources, inside and outside the classroom. Since then, BCPS has been named a regional partner with Code.org, which provides additional funds master teacher trainers and computer science-trained teachers and the application of design thinking. The #BrowardCODES initiative broadens participation by hosting Saturday Code Clubs reaching out to underserved communities, holding teacher workshops, interactive family CodeFests, and a culminating apps challenge showcase that attracts the enthusiastic participation of industry professionals.
Students not only experience computer science on a screen, but bring it to reality through robotics, drones, 3D design, and apps, emphasizing empathy to solve real-world community problems through intergenerational collaboration.
For more information: www.browardedfoundation.org
Closing the Opportunity Gap Using Hands-on, Project-Based Learning Taught by Expert Mentors
Middle school is a critical developmental period and turning point in the lives of young students. For students at East Somerville Community School (ESCS), many of whom come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, Citizen Schools is intent on setting these Massachusetts young people on a positive trajectory forward.
The Boston-based nonprofit organization has brought both rigor and relevance in its partnership approach with middle schools across the United States to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities. By tapping the reservoir of resources in the community, Citizen Schools helps to catalyze student growth through comprehensive academic support, college and career readiness activities, and real-world apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships guided by local STEM professionals will help 150 6th and 7th grade students at ESCS master 21st century skills like collaboration, teamwork, and problem solving, through project-based, hands-on learning opportunities. Students who might otherwise have a limited understanding of available career pathways to become better prepared to thrive in the “innovation economy”. For families, many of whom represent diverse cultures where English is a second language, Citizen Schools also serves as a welcoming access point and helps them navigate the school system. By semester’s end, educators, students, community and families come together for a public celebration where students teach back what they’ve learned in their apprenticeships at an event called WOW!
For 22 years, the Citizen Schools collaborative model has focused on the whole child, “educating children, strengthening communities” and instilling the belief that success is indeed attainable. At ESCS, Citizen Schools is closing the opportunity gap, and, with the support of corporate and community volunteers, is ensuring that students have the opportunity to dream big and envision their path to future success.
For more information: www.citizenschools.org
Reimagining the Learning Day, Connecting to the Future
A gateway city, Chelsea, MA suffers from a high school dropout rate triple that of the state average with its middle schools already struggling to meet the proficiency rates for the state.
By reimagining the learning day, Citizens Schools is intent on closing the opportunity and achievement gap for at-risk students at Chelsea’s Joseph Browne Middle School. The national non-profit is clear-eyed on its vision to provide an extra three hours a day of inspired, engaging experiences that connect learning to the future.
By focusing on the entire 7th grade (152 students), Citizen Schools capitalizes on a critical development period, effectively setting students on a trajectory to high school, college, career, and community leadership through its Expanded Learning Time (ELT) model.
At the heart is Citizen Schools’ signature apprenticeship programs. Passionate AmeriCorps members and aspiring educators are joined by community volunteers called “Citizen Teachers” to mentor high-need students through semester-long hands-on projects. These teachers and partner instructors inspire and introduce middle school students to new fields, and related careers. Over half of all apprenticeships are in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
In addition to apprenticeships, Citizen Schools provides academic support in math or English Language Arts and helps students set goals and devise action plans. They also organize high school application support, college visits, and other field trips.
Over 20 years, the Citizen Schools ELT model has generated enthusiasm among educators and community leaders intent on “educating children, strengthening communities” and instilling the belief that success is indeed attainable.
For more information: www.citizenschools.org
Aligning Teacher Instruction with NGSS to Ensure Student STEM Success
The next generation of middle school students have the opportunity to be true scientists, thanks to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). NGSS not only teaches science content but helps develop students’ knowledge while focusing on evidence-based explanations and application.
An innovative network of free public schools serving more than 1,200 students in South Los Angeles County, Environmental Charter Schools is equipping its teachers with training and resources to integrate NGSS into interdisciplinary, project-based, and environmentally themed curriculum.
At Environmental Charter Middle School – Inglewood (ECMS-I), 360 students in grades 6 to 8 regularly engage in interdisciplinary learning and use the environment to engage, connect, and discover what it means to become stewards of their communities. Their campus and curriculum reflect environmental sustainability at every turn.
Building Teacher Capacity for Next Generation Science Standards enlists a seasoned Science Instructional Coach (SIC) to train teachers in the new standards and identify helpful resources and professional development opportunities including STEM-focused conferences. Beyond that, the aim is to drive toward a three-dimensional instructional shift to disciplinary core ideas, scientific and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts to ensure student achievement. Outside the classroom, student interest in NGSS and STEM subjects is cultivated through STEM partnerships and school-based activities, such as the STEM Family Night and Earth Day event.
All Points North Foundation’s grant enables ECMS-I to not only transform its practice, based on innovative NGSS conceptual frameworks, deepen its understandings of science standards, and increase student science proficiency but inspire students to overcome community conditions and consider a STEM pathway for college and career.
For more information: www.ecsonline.org
Startup Tech Expansion Brings the Future of Work and the Entrepreneurial Mindset to the Classroom
In an innovation economy, there are no traditional pathways to success. That’s why the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is helping some 600 middle school students discover their own potential by activating the entrepreneurial mindset to help forge their own futures.
Startup Tech (SUT), a fast-growing program within the NFTE Entrepreneurship Pathway, provides youth from under-resourced communities with access to technology tools to create products and services they can turn into successful businesses. Students acquire STEM, business, presentation, and entrepreneurial skills through experiential, project-based learning – preparing them for lifelong success no matter what path they ultimately choose.
Students are empowered to think and act like entrepreneurs, learning flexibility and adaptability, communication and collaboration, innovation and creativity, critical thinking and problem solving, and comfort with risk.
Essential to the success of SUT is intensive teacher training and ongoing professional development of 18 middle school teachers who will implement SUT in NYC, Dallas, Baltimore/Washington DC, and St. Louis.
SUT partners with volunteer entrepreneurs, tech industry experts and business people, bringing caring mentors and connectors to local industry. These business leaders and entrepreneurs usher real world experience into the classroom and help coach NFTE students as they explore computational thinking and MIT App Inventor, create their own viable business ideas, explore sustainable business models, and learn how to pitch their ideas to investors.
The culmination is regional yearend Startup Showcases, giving SUT students the opportunity to demonstrate their marketable digital solutions that address community problems, pitch their business concepts, and compete for seed funding.
For more information: www.nfte.com
Digital Tools Power Student Learning, Teacher Practices, and Parental Engagement
Research shows that middle school can be a challenging time when students begin to falter in academic achievement. For high poverty schools, the challenge to produce successful learners is even more pronounced. Students struggle with mastering Common Core standards and STEM subjects, social and emotional learning, and the 21st century skills needed to succeed.
Through a multi-pronged approach to digital learning, PowerMyLearning – a nonprofit that leverages technology to strengthen learning relationships — is helping students in low-income communities, together with their teachers and families, harness innovation to improve educational outcomes.
All Points North grants will enable students in high-need middle schools in Los Angeles and San Jose to power their mastery of learning.
PowerMyLearning’s three-pronged strategy relies on school-wide, comprehensive programs and services to help students increase their classroom effort and ownership over their learning; intensive coaching and professional development workshops for educators; and inclusive family workshops. Students, teachers and families will also access a free online education platform, PowerMyLearning Connect, focusing on STEM digital learning activities and Family Playlists. This will help engage parents and build confidence in helping their children learn at home and plan for the future. The playlists provide a new interactive homework experience that builds students’ social emotional skills and helps parents better understand their students as learners.
Through innovative programming that brings together each part of a school community, PowerMyLearning is accelerating teacher innovation and strengthening the home-school connection. In a recent national study, students at PowerMyLearning’s partner schools increased their math proficiency seven percentage points higher than students at comparable schools. Their unique school partnership model is proving its impact on high student achievement – while fostering noticeable professional growth in teachers and in families as supportive partners, a proven booster for academic success.
For more information: www.powermylearning.org
Lights Out! Renew Our Schools Takes Energy Education and Conservation Action Competition Nationwide
Since 2011, Renew Our Schools’ energy conservation programs have gotten Colorado schools all charged up. Now, Resource Central’s youth engagement initiative is spreading that passion to put conservation into action among middle schools across the country. The energy competition will target 30 underserved public middle schools, potentially reaching 18,000 students through the All Points North Foundation grant.
Schools typically reduce electricity usage by a full 10 to 20% during the competition period by utilizing real-time electricity monitors called eGauges to guide their efforts. Winning schools will receive energy efficiency prizes that will help them realize even greater energy savings and use that money saved to cover other school needs.
Through energy measurement tools such as light meters and thermometers that capture their school’s energy use, students can immediately see how their simple actions impact savings. These students reduce their electricity usage by behavioral means only: turning off lights, removing unnecessary appliances, setting computers to power save mode, adjusting building programming, to name a few.
Working with community mentors and energy experts who expose students to various sustainability careers, schools can earn points by completing energy-themed actions such as lesson plans, conducting a full-school audit, or touring local energy facilities. Teachers are trained and provided resources and tools needed to be confident and successful in their school’s implementation and student engagement.
The program has been so successful in Colorado that many school districts have been inspired to create their own sustainability programs once the competition ends. Now, the new nationwide expansion program will help not only continue the Colorado tradition of transforming the way energy education is taught but foster a new generation of energy leaders across the U.S..
For more information: resourcecentral.org
Saturday Night Bath Concert Fund Makes Music Matter at LA Middle Schools
The seven-piece band is conducting a sound check as at-risk youth stroll into the gymnasium, slightly skeptical of the musicians 40 to 50 years their senior. But soon the sound of congas, trap drums, bass viol, guitars and harmonicas, saxophones and flutes flood the gym and students are captivated by the music.
Saturday Night Bath is not only entertaining but educating 150 middle school students in courtyards and classrooms in a Los Angeles school district where music programs often are shelved because of limited funds.
For Drew and Gompers (Los Angeles) and Dana (San Pedro) Middle Schools, Saturday Night Bath is determined to make music matter.
Since 1986, Saturday Night Bath has delivered 540 concerts in schools and detention facilities, connecting with over 37,000 at-risk youth through music. From Chuck Berry to Carlos Santana, each concert of American jazz and blues consists of pausing midway for Saturday Night Bath members to describe the origins and history of their musical instruments, its inventors, and snippets of famous contemporary artists.
The series of concerts and clinics include acoustical instrument tutorials and composition workshops. Saturday Night Bath artists provide one-on-one coaching on musical instruments and song selection whether rock & roll or “flow” rap, culminating with a student concert performance. Principals and teachers alike point to the positive impact music, like Saturday Night Bath’s performances, has made as a critical learning tool that keeps at-risk youth engaged.
For more information: www.saturdaynightbath.org
Middle School Teacher Training to Meet Next Generation Science Standards
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) sets the science education bar for what students should know as they prepare for college, career, and citizenship. However, this potentially transformative vision for science education can achieve little without teacher training to support both mastery of new content areas and considerable shifts in instructional classroom practice to inquiry-based learning.
This challenge is all the more daunting for teachers working in socio-economically diverse middle schools in east San José, an area with a significant percentage of residents living in poverty.
In this community, science is marginalized amid intense pressure to improve test scores in reading and math – particularly in the absence of resources to support hands-on investigation.
An All Points North Foundation grant is helping to launch San José State University’s NGSS Implementation Collaborative (NIC) in partnership with the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF). This 12-month effort directly supports more than 20 local public middle school teachers and their 1,000 middle school students. The collaboration builds upon the successes of the university’s Bay Area Environmental STEM Institute, a year-round professional development program which has been serving teachers since 1990; and the Green Ninja Project, a 2014 winner of SVEF’s STEM Innovation Awards. This educational project inspires young people to learn how to fight climate change through social media and hands-on learning experiences by following the adventures of the climate action super hero Green Ninja.
A four-day NIC summer institute of learner-centered instruction for teachers will blend science concepts with pedagogy through investigation of the NGSS-aligned Story-Science-Solution, a middle school learning sequence centered on climate change. In-person and online follow-up throughout the academic year will support implementation of materials modeled during the summer institute, helping teachers embrace California’s required transition to NGSS.
For more information: www.sjsu.edu/towerfoundation
Sisters Circle Mentorship Helps Middle School Girls Find Their Voice and Vision
For students in underserved communities, the middle school years can be seen as the “exit ramp” off the proverbial pathway to a successful future.
At Sisters Circle, a nonprofit based in Baltimore, Md., students often come with a “suitcase of broken promises” where trust has been tested and many have endured the harshest of life circumstances. Some have witnessed older brothers shot in daylight. Sixty-five percent become caregivers sometimes to parents, aging grandparents and/or siblings. Several are daughters of moms who became mothers at age 13. Others barely know their father except behind bars. Some resolve disagreements with peers through violence.
Through Sisters Circles’ one-to-one mentoring match program, 80 middle grades students will discover they have a voice and they can realize a vision that includes high school graduation, college and career or alternative productive pathways.
Sisters Circle addresses the physical, social and emotional and academic changes these young girls face during adolescence through trained middle school mentors who teach and model social and emotional learning (SEL)-based strategies.
Thoughtful matches provide students a caring adult they can count on – not just for a day but long term. Some program graduates return to pay it forward. Students are safely supported in a web of mentors, teachers, guidance counselors, family members, staff and community partners. They are exposed to academic enrichment; summer camps that test their comfort zone; role playing on conflict resolution; field trips to healthy options grocery stores; and Girl Talk sessions where vulnerability is embraced.
Thanks to Sisters Circle, these girls — often prey to urban risk factors such as teen pregnancy, school dropout, and drugs/alcohol abuse — instead find their footing to confidently navigate through major life transitions and move forward with voice and vision.
For more information: www.sisterscircle.org
From Classroom to Career
Imagine having a dream that one day you aspire to be an astronaut. A teacher. A ballet dancer. A doctor. A top chef. An architect. But every day you wake up from your dream only to find that reality hits and hits hard – a challenging home life, foregoing after-school sports to babysit a sibling whose diapers need changing, having to piece together dinner while the head of the single family household is juggling two jobs that lead late into the night. And you are the tender age of 11 or 12 at most.
Enter Spark, a unique program that makes meaningful matches between underserved middle school students at risk of dropping out, and local working professionals for a tailored, personalized apprenticeship that gives these youth a shot at success in high school and beyond.
From architecture to zoology, Spark connects students with positive role models who mentor them in career fields that align with their interests and build skills through hands-on activities and projects. In the 2013-14 school year alone, Spark increased enrollment by 50 percent to reach nearly 1,000 students across four metropolitan regions, building a bridge to a brighter future.
All Points North Foundation is pleased to continue its support for Spark Chicago and in 2013, added a grant to Spark San Francisco Bay Area. No doubt we have seen Spark become a life-changing milestone in the lives of youth in some of the most underserved neighborhoods across the country. From perhaps being on the brink of dropping out of school one day, these Spark students explore professions based on their interests and strengths. After 10 years and thousands of apprenticeships, the results speak for themselves. Spark students consistently gain a newfound confidence, essential life skills, positive relationships with caring professionals, and a graduation rate significantly above the national average.
Instructional Coaching and Technology Help Transform Rural Schools in Colorado
A bridge builder of the equity gap of rural and under-resourced schools, TeachUNITED believes firmly in the power of dedicated teachers to help transform the outcomes of rural schools, which serve over 20 percent of the nation’s youth yet often face challenges in finding and retaining teachers. At the root of this shortage are factors like geographic isolation, low salaries, lower enrollment leading to less per-pupil funding, and fewer professional development opportunities.
Working in partnership with schools like Platte Valley Middle School in Kersey, CO, TeachUNITED aims to improve teacher motivation, readiness and effectiveness, limiting teacher turnover and improving student educational outcomes and engagement. The All Points North Foundation grant will reach up to 10 middle grade teachers and 300 students from three schools in rural Northeastern and Southwestern Colorado where student engagement can be common challenges.
Collaborating with Centennial and San Juan BOCES, TeachUNITED identifies schools with a committed leader and passionate educators who serve as lead teachers/mentors and school change agents. Educators take part in the TeachUNITED training program to implement best practices in blended learning, math and literacy instruction, 21st century skills, and student engagement. When needed, schools are also offered tablet technology, a rolling case of 20 tablets. And when internet connectivity is a challenge, schools receive a micro-server that stores content including learning apps like Khan Academy, Wikipedia, and PHET Science Simulation.
The one-year intensive program ensures that partner schools in rural and under-resourced regions of Colorado receive support from teacher Coaches, a proven professional development curriculum, access to a peer network, and, when needed, a mobile tablet lab that helps to transform teaching and learning through personalized learning plans to maximize student academic growth. TeachUNITED points out that learning becomes purposeful, students become engaged, and classrooms become energized. The results speak volumes: an increase in assessment scores, engagement, and 21st-century skills.
For more information: www.teachunited.org
Urban Teacher Residency United (UTRU)
Urban districts across the nation continue to have an unmet need for highly effective teachers who have the knowledge and skills to improve student achievement.
Today, roughly 50 percent of all urban public school teachers nationwide leave their positions in less than three years. The desire to educate exists, but teachers aren’t always adequately prepared to make an immediate impact on kids.
Urban Teacher Residency United’s (UTRU) signature technical assistance program develops and supports highly effective teacher residency programs that focus on developing teachers to be successful in urban districts. Residency programs are the most comprehensive model of teacher preparation in the nation. Residencies play an increasingly important role in designing human capital strategies by creating a pathway that responds directly to the hiring needs of school districts. In addition, residencies provide career advancement for experienced teachers to act as mentors, while developing highly effective new teachers that are capable of impacting student achievement from the moment they enter the classroom as a teacher of record.
For more information: www.utrunited.org
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All Points North Foundation
All Points North Foundation provides grants for projects and initiatives that support our priorities: improving public middle school education and teacher training, and implementing effective solar programs and/or projects in the United States.
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