For nearly 200 years the New York Academy of Sciences has brought together extraordinary people working at the frontiers of discovery and has promoted vital links between science and society. The Academy has a history of building new scientific communities, constructing innovative connections among an extensive scientific network, and driving path-breaking initiatives for scientific, social, and economic benefit.
The Academy has a three-pronged mission: to advance scientific research and knowledge, to help resolve the major global challenges facing society with science-based solutions, and to increase the number of scientifically informed individuals. Since the 1940s, the Academy has made investments in K–12 (kindergarten through 12th grade) science education, with such programs as the New York City Science and Engineering Fair, capacity building programs to support outreach in other institutions, and mentoring programs for top performing students in New York City. These investments have increased the city's ability to nurture top scientific talent.
In recent years, the Academy has redoubled its efforts to bring New York's wealth of scientific resources to bear on the needs of the city's schools, with a focus on improving science education for all students, especially those traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). With generous seed funding, the Academy launched the New York City Science Education Initiative in January 2010.
The New York City Science Education Initiative has a simple mission: to identify high-impact, scalable pathways for scientists to directly improve the number of children who are STEM-literate. Our theory of change relies heavily on the core competencies of the Academy: to serve as a connector between the relatively well resourced scientific community to the relatively under-resourced education community who serve high-need students and under-resourced teachers in the STEM fields.
In order to achieve this, the Academy has created two separate but complementary approaches—the Science Teachers Program and the Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program—targeting not only the city's K–12 students, but also the educators who cultivate and further their scientific development.
How it Works
The program consists of two interconnected elements: networking events and a digital footprint. In addition to joining the larger scientific community at Academy events, teachers partake in specific program events. The program features at least six events per year addressing four primary areas (pedagogy, policy, networking, and technology) but has the organizational capacity to expand both the topical areas and format of future events based on the interests of participants. The broad dissemination of the content from these events is a hallmark of the Academy's programs. The Academy's Web site also serves as a portal for interactive webinars, allowing teachers outside of the city the opportunity to participate in New York-based events. Through Academy eBriefings, teachers have access to online multimedia reports of events in an accessible format, documenting and extending the reach of live meetings after their conclusion.
In addition to events at the Academy, the K–12 Science Education Initiative program hosts its own Web portal, Pathways to Science, generously sponsored by the Verizon Foundation. Pathways to Science is a virtual home for New York City science teachers to link to the digital resources of the Academy and the science world beyond. Pathways to Science contains blogs, an active discussion board, links to resources, and direct access to Academy content. A special feature of the site is a calendar that lists upcoming events for science, math, technology, and engineering teachers in the New York City area and beyond.
This multidimensional approach allows teachers the flexibility to receive the benefits of the Academy in a variety of ways, both live and online, building a dynamic community of educators in and beyond New York City.