Kansas City, Mo — The Kansas City region is one of 27 communities across the nation selected to join the STEM Ecosystems Initiative, according to an announcement by the White House. Known as “ecosySTEM KC,” the local effort will be led by KC STEM Alliance in partnership with Science Pioneers, the Mid-America Regional Council and the Kansas Enrichment Network.
Building on more than a decade of research into successful STEM collaborations, the STEM Funders Network and 350 committed local funders and organizations are announcing a five-year effort to create 100 tight-knit local STEM networks — STEM ecosystems — that bring together broad-scale, cross-sector collaborations to nurture and scale effective science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunities for all young people, especially girls and underserved populations.
Kansas City was selected to participate in the initiative in recognition of the strong STEM community developed here and a demonstrated commitment to continue this work.
The national STEM Ecosystems Initiative was launched in September 2015 with more than $20 million in funding, and a goal of reaching 600,000 teachers and students in its first three years. Kansas City’s EcosySTEM and other selected communities will participate in an upcoming workshop at the White House, which will focus on convening and growing the numbers of local leaders who are expanding STEM opportunities in their communities.
“We look forward to being part of this initiative and contributing to the Community of Practice,” said KC STEM Alliance Executive Director Laura Loyacono. “With the support of the STEM Funders Network and our colleagues building STEM learning ecosystems across the United States, we will be reach more youth with STEM opportunities effectively and efficiently.”
The 27 communities in the initial cohort of a national Community of Practice are demonstrating cross-sector collaborations to deliver rigorous, effective pre-K-16 instruction in STEM learning. These collaborations happen in schools and beyond the classroom—in afterschool and summer programs, at home, in science centers, libraries and other places both virtual and physical. They spark young people’s engagement, develop their knowledge, strengthen their persistence and nurture their sense of identity and belonging in STEM disciplines. As these STEM Ecosystems evolve, a student will be able to connect what they learn in and out of school with real-world learning opportunities, leading to STEM related careers and opportunities.
Launched in Denver at the Clinton Global Initiative, the STEM Funders Network STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative forms a national Community of Practice with expert coaching and support from leaders such as superintendents, scientists, industry and others. The first gathering of this Community of Practice will be hosted at the White House in November.
Participating communities, selected from an invited pool of 70+ applicants, include:
- Arizona SciTech Ecosystem (Phoenix, AZ)
- Bay Area STEM Ecosystem (San Jose, CA)
- BoSTEM (Boston, MA)
- Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative (Chicago, IL)
- Colorado STEM (Denver, CO)
- East Syracuse Minoa Central School District STEM Learning Ecosystem (East Syracuse, NY)
- ecosySTEM KC (Kansas City, MO)
- Great Lakes Bay Regional STEM Initiative (Freeland, MI)
- Greater Austin STEM Ecosystem (Austin, TX)
- Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative (Cincinnati, OH)
- Indiana STEM Ecosystem Initiative (Indianapolis, IN)
- Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership in Western New York (Buffalo, NY)
- EvanSTEM (Evanston, IL)
- Los Angeles Regional STEM Hub (Los Angeles, CA)
- NC STEM Ecosystem: Driving the Future (Research Triangle Park, NC)
- Northeast Ohio STEM Learning Ecosystem (Cleveland, OH)
- NYC STEM Education Network (New York, NY)
- Orange County STEM Initiative (Corona Del Mar, CA)
- Oregon’s Statewide Regional STEM Hub Network (Salem, OR)
- Pittsburgh Regional STEM Ecosystem (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Providence After School Alliance (PASA) AfterZone STEM – FUSE Initiative (Providence, RI)
- Queens 2020 (Corona, NY)
- San Diego EcosySTEM (San Diego, CA)
- STEMcityPHL Regional Network (Conshohocken, PA)
- Tampa Bay STEM Network (Tampa, FL)
- Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance (Tulsa, OK)
- Ventura County STEM Regional Network (Learning Ecosystem, Camarillo, CA)
Learn more about the initiative at stemecosystems.org
About the STEM Funders Network: The SFN was formed in 2011 by a small group of funders from the Grant Makers for Education community to focus attention and better coordinate funding in support of robust STEM programs across the country. The SFN members fund individually as well as collectively and their work has supported the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards in all 50 states as well as dozens of STEM programs of promise.
STEM Ecosystems funding members of the STEM Funders Network include: Samueli Foundation,Noyce Foundation , Overdeck Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, and Simons Foundation with support by Amgen Foundation, Broadcom Foundation, KDK Harman Foundation,Pinkerton Foundation and Tiger Woods Foundation.
About ecosySTEM KC: KC STEM Alliance, Kansas Enrichment Network, Mid-America Regional Council and Science Pioneers serve as lead partners responsible for engaging the community in the ecosySTEM KC initiative. Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium, PrepKC, Science City and KC Digital Drive commit to providing their expertise and enthusiasm. Partners plan to focus ecosySTEM KC on the two largest urban public school districts – Kansas City, Missouri (KCPS) and Kansas City, Kansas (KCKPS) Public Schools.
Additional supporting partners in ecosySTEM KC’s selection included (in alphabetical order): American Royal, Black & Veatch, Burns & McDonnell, Cerner, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, KC FIRST , KC Project Lead the Way, Kansas City Public Library, KC Rising, Kansas City Zoo, LINC, Minddrive, Missouri Math and Science Coalition, University of Kansas Center for STEM Learning, University of Missouri Kansas City School of Computing and Engineering, and West Central Missouri Area Health Education Centers.