The Biogen Foundation’s STAR Initiative (Science, Teacher Support, Access & Readiness) has completed its first full year. The mission of the four-year, $10M program is to strengthen the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education ecosystems for public school students in Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts.
In 2019 the initiative partnered with six nonprofit organizations to help them work together to expand and strengthen STEM learning opportunities for students, with a focus on serving individuals historically underrepresented in STEM –notably, students of color. STAR grantees launched new pilot programs, expanded their services to reach additional students and enhanced and deepened existing programming. The STAR Initiative also established connections with local projects and programs to further grow the quality and capacity of STEM learning in the community.
In the first full year of the program, 729 additional students were served by grantees and 1,541 total students benefited from improved program quality and experiential learning. Additional accomplishments include:
- Teachers throughout Cambridge and Somerville public schools learned how to deploy new and enhanced STEM curricula
- Math teachers in Somerville worked with Lesley University to create hands-on classroom activities that support the district’s new curriculum
- STAR grantees launched new programs and opened new program sites
- STAR grantees developed common goals for students and teachers participating in the STAR Initiative
“When we saw … that Biogen was making such a deep investment in such an important area, we were thrilled that Somerville and Cambridge would both benefit,” said Mary Skipper, Superintendent, Somerville Public Schools. “This really is going to help us prepare our students for a future that we don’t even know what looks like, but we do know that STEM is going to be at the center of it.”
Plans for the second year include continually assessing and refining the STAR model, fostering growth and development of Cambridge and Somerville STEM ecosystems while building others and strengthening the network to maximize STEM opportunities for historically underrepresented students.
Learn more about the STAR Initiative.