Viterbi STEM Schools Partnership

Viterbi STEM Schools Partnership is a collaboration between K-12 schools and  USC Viterbi STEM Educational Outreach Programs (STEM-EOP) that offers expanded opportunities for authentic STEM experiences for students interested in STEM and professional development for their teachers.

Application Period: June 1 – June 30th (Full academic year); November 1 – November 30th (spring semester)

Download the partnership details and agreement for 17-18 academic year >>

Background

In this past academic year (2016-17), USC Viterbi STEM Educational Outreach Programs (STEM-EOP) piloted the Viterbi STEM Schools Partnership. The purpose of the program is to offer partner schools’ students and teachers opportunities for authentic experiences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) building on the log-running successes of USC MESA (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement) Program and Mission Science programs.

The Viterbi STEM Schools Partnership program was created to meet the needs of schools who have expressed an interest in collaborating with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and to make available STEM-EOP resources, USC facilities, and access to USC students, faculty, staff to a larger network of Los Angeles area schools than can be accommodated by existing MESA and Mission Science.

For most schools, the centerpiece of the partnership is the STEM club. These student-interest-driven clubs generally take place afterschool, during lunch, or as an elective course. According to the level of partnership, USC STEM-EOP will assist in the planning and/or delivery of the club. Teachers at partner schools can participate in group planning meetings and professional development. In addition, all partners will have access to resources that can bring authentic STEM experiences into the school and connect students with USC students and programs.

Partnership Types

  • Full Partner – Tier 1

    $1500 shared cost

    • Full STEM club support: initial and on-going planning and support for a weekly club, including: materials for projects, monthly USC student-led activities, and teacher planning meetings
    • Students have preferred access to USC events and programs, including fall college and career day and summer programs
    • Schools get help in coordinating family STEM events, field trips, and/or guest speakers
    • Teachers are invited to participate in professional growth activities
    • Teacher have access to STEM lesson plans
  • Associate Partner – Tier 2

    $500 shared cost

    • STEM club support: initial and on-going planning and support for a weekly club, including: initial planning, ongoing curriculum support, teacher planning meetings
    • Students have preferred access to USC events and programs, including fall college and career day and summer programs
    • Schools get help in coordinating field trips and/or guest speakers
    • Teachers are invited to participate in professional growth activities
    • Teacher have access to STEM lesson plans
  • Affiliate School – Tier 3

    no shared cost

    • STEM club support: initial planning and curriculum advice, 1 teacher leader meeting per semester
    • Students are invited to USC events and programs
    • SSchools have access to USC student volunteers, STEM professionals, and faculty guest speakers (as available)
    • Teachers are invited to participate in professional growth activities
    • Teacher have access to STEM lesson plans

Viterbi STEM School Partners, 2016-17

 

STEM Education Partnerships Work!

 

The lure of STEM has been the excitement generated by projects, experiments and activities as well as the potential for high income earning jobs and careers.  The Common Core and Next Generation Science standards attempt to integrate STEM into everyday curriculum. However, simply changing standards in isolation cannot overcome the inertia of public educational institutions.  Data has shown that participation in STEM curricula is dependent on interest, aptitude and prior success in mathematics and science courses. Thus, underrepresented and disadvantaged minority students which are  low-income, African-American, Hispanic and women, may not have had the opportunity to develop interest or experience success in math and science may be excluded from participation.

In the study, “Pipeline Persistence: Examining the Association of Educational Experiences With Earned Degrees in STEM Among U.S. Students”, Maltese and Tai (2009) indicate that the majority of students who concentrate in STEM make that choice during high school, and that choice is related to a growing interest in mathematics and science rather than enrollment or achievement. According to the NACME White Paper Increasing the Achievement and Presence of Underrepresented Minorities in STEM Fields (2013), “Strengthening the educational pipeline for minorities in STEM fields will have a huge impact on their motivation to study and work in those fields”. The STEM Education Coalition found that increasing underrepresented minority students’ STEM-related educational opportunities positively influence their success in STEM. According to the book “Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads”, mentorship is cited as a successful strategy in exciting, inspiring and keeping young women and underrepresented minorities interest in science technology engineering and math (STEM).

Part of the Committee on Science Technology, Engineering and Math Education (CoSTEM) National Strategy is to improve STEM instruction in preschool through 12th grade, increase and sustain public and youth engagement with STEM and better serve groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields. To implement the strategy CoSTEM recommends training the existing STEM teacher workforce, increasing in the number of U.S. youth who have an authentic STEM experience each year prior to completing high school and building students’ STEM skills and academic persistence to promote the graduation of educationally disadvantaged and underrepresented students with degrees in STEM fields.