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Our Annual

FSF’s bespoke three-year program is designed to be highly impactful, informative, and capable of changing attitudes about STEM.

Studies have identified a triad of elements which are key to creating impactful programming with sustained outcomes:

  • Engagement - awareness and interest

  • Capacity - knowledge and skills

  • Continuity - opportunities and resources

 

We have specifically structured our programming to include all three key elements.

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Engagement

1st and 2nd Year Programs

  • 1.5 hours per week of after-school classes for 26 weeks

  • Online programs consist of a cohort of 15 girls synchronously taught by certified teachers and college-aged mentors. 

  • In-person programs consist of a cohort of 15-20 girls per class taught by certified teachers.

  • While our focus is on science, we are acutely aware of the our student's needs with respect to literacy. 70% of 4th grade students from low-income communities cannot read at grade level (The National Literacy Institute). We include a reading and vocabulary component in each class to help support fluency and comprehension for our students.  

  • Each class includes an interactive, hands-on project exploring a STEAM element.

 

3rd Year Program

  • 1.5 hours per week of online classes for 14 weeks

  • 6 half-day field trips to local cultural institutions like the botanic gardens, planetarium, and zoo.

  • Concludes with a multi-day family experience to a national park where our girls, many for the first time, can experience much of what they studied, in a natural setting.

 

Science in My City expands on the topics explored during the previous two years, and allows students to apply what they’ve already learned by engaging in real world experiences within their communities.

 

This program is designed to give students the skills necessary to act as agents of change and empowers them to take on challenges like climate change and social justice issues. We want to give them the self-confidence and agency necessary to take on leadership roles and drive change.

Capacity

  • Our curriculum is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and implements the 5E model for design.

  • We incorporate culturally relevant literacy into our program, using age-appropriate books about science and female scientists, to help our students relate to what they are reading and to develop system-wide understandings, as opposed to siloed scientific facts. Learning new concepts, using a story to provide context, helps students better relate to new information and can lead to higher rates of concept retention for young learners.

  • Our hands-on STEM projects help students better understand the concepts they are learning. Sample projects include exploring the engineering principles behind space rockets, creating a functional submarine by experimenting with how density influences buoyancy, and honing mathematical skills to identify climate changes affecting planet Earth.

  • We include Art-infused projects in our STEM curriculum. This multi-disciplined approach encourages creativity and helps build the neural pathways needed to solve complex, multi-faceted problems- a critical skill in all aspects of learning.

  • We host a monthly guest speaker program which features women of color working in STEM fields. This program is designed to expose students to the vast array of careers in STEM, and engage them with role models in those fields. Our students often cite meeting our speakers as one of their favorite parts of the program.

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Continuity

  • We engage our students in 3-years of multi-faceted STEAM programming 

  • We value family engagement and encourage our families to interact with their scholars around STEM topics, including inviting them to attend our speaker programs and participate in our field trips so that, they too, have a better understanding of STEM topics and careers. 

  • We conduct post-program student and family interviews to guide changes to our programs to better serve our students. 

  • We’ve launched an Alumni Program which includes a database of other STEAM/STEM programs available to our graduates and their families.

  • We’ll use annual surveys to track future program participation, relevant coursework, and attitudes towards STEM, as our girls progress in their education.

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