Advancing supportive afterschool policies, regardless of the focus area, requires a collaborative, multi-pronged approach. As such, we are delighted to continue our partnership with the Overdeck Family Foundation to advance afterschool science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education policy in states around the nation. We will collaborate with the statewide afterschool networks and the STEM Education Coalition to amplify state networks’ ongoing efforts to grow afterschool STEM learning opportunities in their states.
The increased support from the Overdeck Family Foundation and continued collaboration with the STEM Education Coalition show that this approach—connecting the STEM-rich community with afterschool experts, and braiding grassroots and grasstops advocacy to elevate their collective voice and influence federal, state, and local policy—has the power to make high-quality afterschool STEM learning accessible to students in communities across the nation.
“Last year, with support from the Overdeck Foundation and collaboration with the STEM Education Coalition, we saw great gains in funding and support for afterschool STEM at the state level,” said Jodi Grant, executive director of the Afterschool Alliance. “This year we look forward to continuing to educate policymakers on the value of afterschool STEM, and working to increase opportunities for young people to access quality STEM experiences when school is out.”
“The STEM Education Coalition is proud to continue our partnership with the Afterschool Alliance. Afterschool education provides students, especially underrepresented groups, with innovative, hands-on STEM learning opportunities that have been proven to improve STEM skills and spark curiosity in students,” said James Brown, executive director of the STEM Education Coalition.
The expertise of direct service providers, support from subject/content specific influencers, buy-in from related business leaders and stakeholders, and continued implementation of effective communication and advocacy strategies are all required to maintain state and federal policy support for afterschool and summer learning. This collaboration merges the local knowledge and service providing expertise of the statewide networks, the influence of the STEM Education Coalition (a national Coalition of 750+ business, professional, and education organizations with a stake in the STEM ecosystem), and the afterschool advocacy and communications capability of the Afterschool Alliance, all to elevate afterschool STEM learning on state-level policy agendas.
We are thrilled to announce the renewal of our work with the following organizations for this initiative:
These six state networks will build on their many successes building supportive state and local environments for afterschool STEM learning. By working with school board and principal’s associations, chambers of commerce, and key legislators, these state networks are ensuring local education agencies, leaders, and the STEM-related community understand the valuable role afterschool plays in a well-rounded and engaging STEM education and have the resources to access such opportunities.
This year’s Overdeck award also allows us to work with six additional statewide afterschool networks on advancing afterschool STEM policies.
These six networks demonstrated that the policy and STEM learning environments in their states are conducive for advancing afterschool STEM. They will amplify their current STEM-related efforts with targeted social media and communications plans, intentional outreach to superintendents, increased engagement with business communities and workforce boards, and rich storytelling that highlights the impact of afterschool STEM learning on their local community.
Together with the STEM Education Coalition, we will provide personalized technical assistance to each of these 12 statewide afterschool networks, helping them translate their grassroots advocacy, state and local relationships, and programmatic knowledge into supportive policies that bridge the out-of-school time and STEM learning spaces and support high-quality STEM learning in afterschool programs in these states and beyond.