According to the National Science Foundation, underrepresented minority students received 22% of all science and engineering bachelor’s degrees and 9% of all science and engineering doctorate degrees in 2016. Last year, nearly 70% of all STEM professionals in the U.S. were white.
“At Acera, students are able to draw connections between classroom learning and real-world innovations and issues,” said Courtney Dickinson, founder and director of Acera School. “This early and deep exposure to STEM concepts makes science meaningful and enables students to see a pathway for themselves as future scientists and innovators.”
The scholarship fund is the newest program in Acera’s efforts to increase diversity in STEM. Acera’s public outreach division, AceraEI, leads free professional development workshops for public school science teachers – with an emphasis on teachers in communities with high student diversity – in new and cutting edge science labs, including gene editing with CRISPR. The goal is for workshop participants to weave these hands-on lab activities into their existing public school science curriculum. To date, more than 30 public school districts – including Boston, Lowell, Salem, Lawrence, and Lynn – have participated in AceraEI’s free trainings, and teachers have used the curriculum in their own classrooms with students.
In August of 2020, AceraEI facilitated a free workshop for public school teachers on best practices to make remote learning substantive, hands-on, and engaging for students.
Acera School also manages the Reed Hollett Enrichment Scholarship Fund. Acera established the Fund in 2016 to ensure that lower-income students can participate in Acera’s after school and summer STEAM enrichment programs. Reed Hollett, a beloved Acera teacher who passed away unexpectedly in 2015, believed passionately in the importance of getting children outdoors to experience nature.
About Acera School:
Founded in 2010, the Acera: The Massachusetts school of Science, Creativity and Leadership is a nonprofit K-9th STEM school serving high-ability students, enabling them to learn based upon their abilities and interests, without limits due to their age. The school and its enrichment programs function as an educational innovation hub to invent new curricula with evidence-based pedagogy, founded with the mission to help catalyze change in public education. Acera pedagogy engages students to learn habits of mind like systems thinking, problem-solving, emotional intelligence and creativity within projects that align with each student’s capacities and interests, in an inquiry-based approach. Acera is an actively anti-bias and anti-racist school. For more information on Acera and AceraEI, visit www.aceraschool.org and follow us on Twitter @AceraSchool.
Acera is the lab school for Acera Education Innovations (AceraEI). AceraEI partners with public school districts to bring its pilot-tested Tools to Transform Schools to public schools everywhere, fostering the next generation of scientists, innovators, and leaders. For more information, visit aceraei.org.