STEM in Afterschool
The Alaska Afterschool Network is dedicated to expanding access to productive out-of-school science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning programs by improving existing programs and creating new ones. STEM-focused programs that operate outside of school are uniquely effective at reducing achievement gaps. The network's desire is that every child in Alaska has access to high-quality STEM opportunities in their community during out-of-school time.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) skills are essential for navigating the modern world and competing in the 21st century job market. The United States currently ranks 35th out of 64 countries in math and 27th in science. And Alaska ranks far below average among other U.S. states in science and math. We must ensure that Alaska youth have the skills they need to successfully access available opportunities in the state and nation.
Why STEM in Afterschool?
Students spend less than 20% of their waking hours in a school classroom. Afterschool programs are part of the solution to engage more kids in STEM education.
- In the 2014-15 school year, the state of Alaska had the 5th lowest graduation rate for public school students
- Only 67% of economically disadvantaged students graduated from high school in 2015; only 57% of Alaska Native students graduated in 2013
- Only 31% of Alaska youth statewide are proficient in math, according to the 2015 Alaska Measures of Progress test scores
- 30% of Alaska Native third-graders and 34% of Alaska Native sixth-graders scored far below proficient in mathematics, according to Standards Based Assessment scores from 2013-14
- Only 1 in 4 schools in Alaska teach computer programming, but 9 in 10 parents want their child to study computer science
- By the end of high school, fewer than 15% of high school graduates have enough math and science to pursue scientific or technical degrees in college
By offering hands-on, project-based learning that makes STEM come alive for youth before-school, afterschool, and summer learning programs can spark youth interest in these fields and inspire them to pursue majors and careers in STEM.