It’s summer at Aspire
While Wheelock’s academic year has ended, things are picking up at the Aspire Institute. We are particularly excited to be working with the Boston Compact, a Gates Foundation funded initiative focused on Human Capital development in Boston’s public, charter and Catholic schools.
We are also excited about our continued effort to promote STEM Education. Our online courses for K-5 teachers run again this summer, along with a new online module for out of school time professionals launching in June. Thanks to the Silvia Earl Innovation Award, we will also be continuing work on our STEM Activity App , a tool to engage students and parents together in STEM learning.
Finally, Aspire’s Connected Beginnings Training Institute was thrilled to partner with the Wheelock Social Work Department to support the launch of a new Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Mental Health , which prepares master’s level social workers to provide mental health services to children and their families in a variety of settings.
STEM App Party a Success
Aspire launched a first-of-its-kind mobile-accessible application to engage parents and students in grades 3, 4, and 5 in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) learning. The application, funded by the Wheelock Sylvia Earl Innovation Award, was piloted on April 1, 2013 at the Sarah Greenwood School in Dorchester, MA.
An “End-of-Pilot” Party took place at the Sarah Greenwood School on Friday, June 7th in collaboration with the Discovery Museums. Students discussed the meaning of STEM and then had to engineer a pasta tower with only 10 pieces of spaghetti and 6 inches of masking tape. The event culminated in a raffle for two iPod shuffles and, the grand prize, an iPad Mini.
Aspire was awarded the grant for a second time in May to continue developing the capabilities of the App. You can get involved in this community project here!
The Aspire Institute partners with the Boston Compact
The Aspire Institute was recently named by the Boston Compact as its fiscal sponsor. The Institute will manage Compact funding, which includes a $3.25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and smaller local grants. The Compact, which Mayor Thomas M. Menino launched in late 2011, formally links district public schools, public charter schools, and private Catholic schools in the interest of improving education across the City, particularly for students who historically have been underserved. The new funds support deeper collaboration between schools in order to scale effective practices and between sectors to streamline systems. Sixteen cities were invited to compete for Gates Foundation awards based upon prior compact work and Boston was one of just seven to receive funding in this round of awards. Since its launch, all 128 Boston Public Schools, all 16 charter operators, as well as 22 Catholic schools have formally joined the compact, which represents 88 percent of Boston students. More information on the Compact can be found at www.bostoncompact.org .
Science Inquiry for Out of School Time Professionals
Aspire is launching a new online module designed for out of school time instructors, site leaders or anyone involved in developing and delivering out of school time curriculum. This module will help out of school time professionals better understand science inquiry in the out of school time setting. They will learn both content and instructional strategies through engaging videos, interactive online discussions with professional peers and relevant readings and assignments.
This module will enable OST professionals to make observations, raise questions, and formulate hypotheses, design and conduct scientific investigations, analyze and interpret results of scientific investigations and communicate and apply the results of scientific investigations.
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