Going Beyond100K- Sharing our Equity in High School STEM Commitments

As many of you know, September has been a big month for us! On September 19, we launched our new goal, network and name - Beyond100K - at the Clinton Global Initiative gathering in New York City. You can watch the video that was spotlighted at the event here! In a recent email, Talia Milgrom-Elcott, Founder and Executive Director of Beyond100K (formerly 100Kin10), shared this about the new name and network: 

Beyond100K honors the networked impact of our first decade, and it encourages us to continue to dream big: Because when young people experience powerful, inclusive STEM learning and teaching, their potential is limitless, and when we work together, we go beyond what seems possible.

The “moonshot” goal of 100Kin10 was to prepare and retain 100,000 new STEM teachers in 10 years. With Beyond100K we are seeking to”go beyond '' and prepare and retain 150K new STEM teachers, particularly for schools serving majority Black, Latinx, and Native American students, in the next decade. We will also support our network in their quest to prepare teachers who reflect and represent their students and to cultivate workplaces and classrooms of belonging, creating the conditions for all students to thrive in STEM learning. 

The Grand Challenges and the Catalysts

For those that have been working with us for some time, you are probably familiar with the Grand Challenges, which were key to us exceeding our first goal. Grand Challenges are how we identified the “high-leverage opportunities for creating system-level progress.” Our catalysts are the challenges we consider the most significant, strategic, and efficient areas for impacting STEM education, and if solved, would have an outsized, positive impact on the STEM education system. We rolled out one catalyst per year from 2018 - 2020, and mobilized our partners to work on these challenges. The three catalyst challenges are:

  • Nurturing positive work environments for teachers (sometimes referred to as C1) - announced in 2018
  • Enabling joyful and rigorous foundational math (C2) - announced in 2019
  • Increasing equity in high school STEM (C3) - announced 2020

A Focus on Equity in High School STEM

The remainder of this blog will focus on Catalyst 3: Equity in High School STEM. We want to first celebrate the incredible work done by our network around this catalyst over the past ten years, and then get excited about the commitments Beyond100K partners have already made to continue to address this catalyst challenge in the future. Let’s dive in to HS STEM!

100Kin10: Past Partner Work around HS STEM

Over the past decade, 100Kin10 released one research-based report to support those working to address this catalyst: Shifting Courses: Achieving Equity in High School STEM  (released in 2020. Since then, there have been nine project teams and six Communities that worked to address challenges related to Equity in HS STEM; you can read more about their work here. This summer, 100Kin10 awarded ten implementation grants to continue work started with their project team or community; you can read more about what they have been working on here. And in May, we released a blog focused on how to foster belonging in HS STEM..

Going Beyond100K: Partner Commitments to Address HS STEM

We are excited to continue to work towards enabling joyful and rigorous Foundational Math. To date, 130 organizations have joined Beyond100K and committed to our new 10-year goal. Partners represent leading academic institutions, nonprofits, foundations, companies, and government agencies, and have each made specific, public commitments toward reaching this goal. We are so grateful for each one of these commitments! 

As a part of the application to (re)join the network, we asked partners to identify if their organization planned to do work aligned with any of the catalyst focus areas between now and 2027. Among the partners who (re)joined our network, 46 indicated that their work intersects with one or more catalyst focus area, and 54 of those partners reported that their work intersects with Equity in HS STEM. The most common ways that partners reported they plan to engage in work on the catalysts include in-service opportunities for professional development, learning, and growth (28 partners), pre-service teacher training (15 partners), and curriculum development (9 partners). Interestingly, there also was an emphasis on incorporating computer science and computational thinking into STEM across all three catalyst areas (5 partners). Among the partners who reported plans to focus on foundational math, four themes emerged; below is a look at each of these themes.

Preparing Pre-service Teachers

One of the suggestions for promoting equity in HS STEM from the Shifting Courses: Achieving Equity in High School STEM report was to support more teachers to facilitate active and applied STEM learning; one key way to do this is via pre-service teacher training. Partner commitments in this area are around preparing teachers to focus on equitable teaching practices including fostering equitable learning environments, incorporating culturally responsive teaching, facilitating guided inquiry by centering students, positioning students as sensemakers, and facilitating meaningful discourse.

Partners working on this theme include Kansas State University, Teach For America, The Ohio State University, and The University of Texas at Dallas.

Professional development for in-service teachers

Partner work that focuses on professional learning includes an emphasis on expanding teacher knowledge, capacity, and preparedness. In particular, partners made commitments to provide professional development around equity-based teaching strategies including fostering equitable participation and learning environments, culturally responsive teaching, and supporting STEM identity development. In addition, partners plan to provide opportunities for professional learning around STEM content, particularly in areas of need like computer science, computational thinking, and data science.

Partners working on this theme include Arizona Science Center; the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation; Data Science 4 Everyone; Destination Imagination, Inc.; Explora; PhET Interactive Simulations at the University of Colorado Boulder; STEMteachersNYC; The Ohio State University; and West Virginia University Center for Excellence in STEM Education.

Coursework and Curriculum

Another recommendation from the Shifting Courses report was to ensure high school STEM coursework is relevant and applicable to a 21st century context. The report also highlighted the need for “quality, vetted curricular materials” in high school STEM. Several partners made commitments around working to provide equitable STEM curriculum development including revising the California State Math Framework, creating new STEM courses that explicitly recognize BIPOC experiences/contributions, revising physics curricular materials to be more explicitly culturally responsive, and incorporating project-based learning. Additionally, partners are working to broaden and increase access to high-quality STEM learning and courses, including IB and AP, as well as to provide access to informal STEM learning opportunities.

Partners working on this theme include Achievement First; California STEM Network; Chicago Academy of Sciences/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum; Explora; Girls Who Code; IDEA Public Schools; LabXChange; Lawrence Hall of Science; Learning Blade; PhET Interactive Simulations; The Ohio State University; The University of California, Los Angeles; The University of California, Santa Barbara.

We hope you are as excited as we are about the incredible work that has already been done to address Equity in High School STEM, and the commitments made to continuing this work in the decade to come