Free resources to support STEM learning in expanded learning programs
Implement and continuously improve STEM learning in your program


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Collaborate to Innovate
A resource designed to facilitate K-12 and expanded learning collaboration for quality STEM learning

The Next Generation Science Standards work group of the CAN STEM Committee recently released Collaborate to Innovate: Advance Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards Through K-12 and Expanded Learning Program Partnerships. Collaborate to Innovate describes the opportunities for collaboration created by new K-12 standards and the Quality Standards for Expanded Learning Programs in California. The document outlines specific strategies and resources to support K-12 and expanded learning collaboration to advance high-quality STEM learning. Access Collaborate to Innovate. 


Expanded Learning STEM Quality Elements
A Framework for Quality STEM Learning in Expanded Learning Programs

This document addresses the questions:

  • Why should I implement STEM in my expanded learning program?
  • How do you define and describe what Quality STEM Learning looks like in expanded learning contexts?

Quality STEM in expanded learning reflects elements of quality for expanded learning and informal STEM learning programs. Expanded Learning STEM Quality Elements provide a common framework for quality STEM learning in Expanded Learning Programs. The Expanded Learning STEM Quality Elements are described as actions that can be taken at the programmatic, staff, and participant levels of the program. They were intentionally arranged in these three sections to map to the Quality Standards for Expanded Learning in California.


Assessment and Planning Tool for STEM in Expanded Learning Programs

High quality STEM in OST is engaging and enriching for youth and can be a valuable professional development opportunity for staff. Taking time to get clear about how STEM supports your program’s goals, and how your staff will be supported in leading STEM activities will help to ensure success. Strong STEM programs need big picture STEM learning goals that are linked to the program goals and/or school goals. Use this tool as part of a process of continuous quality improvement to assist you in developing and reaching your STEM goals. The purpose of the Assessment and Planning Tool for STEM in Expanded Learning Programs is to help programs assess existing STEM learning opportunities and assets, determine where you are on the OST program STEM pathway and identify next steps to move along the pathway, and develop your STEM program plan. 


A Guide to Developing STEM in Expanded Learning Programs

This guide outlines promising practices for STEM implementation in expanded learning programs based on lessons learned through the implementation of the Power of Discovery: STEMInitiative. The guide centers around five central practices (outlined below) each supported with examples from California’s expanded learning programs. The five practices the guide focuses on are: 

  1. Approach STEM learning with vision, purpose and intention
  2. Integrate youth development, common core, and STEM learning strategies
  3. Make learning exciting, engaging and meaningful
  4. Connect project-based learning with real-world experiences
  5. Secure adequate, sustainable funding

Dimensions of Success (DoS) Program Planning Tool

This tool, developed by the Program in Education, Afterschool, & Resiliency (PEAR) at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School is designed to assist site-level practitioners design and implement high-quality STEM learning activities on site. The guide assists program staff as they plan the features of the learning environment, activity engagement, STEM knowledge and practices, as well as youth development (including relevance and youth voice) into their programatic activities. 

Access the Dimensions of Success (DoS, site-level) Program Planning Tool


Building Local Systems of Programmatic Support for STEM Learning
A Practical Guide for Developing Regional Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice (CoPs) are emerging as a promising strategy for building sustainable peer networks that ultimately can function as systems of support within a local region. The content of this guide is based upon the work of the Power of Discovery: STEM2 Initiative. In addition to general descriptions of design and implementation strategies and considerations, it also contains practical examples of how a CoP can look and feel across diverse regional contexts. This guide is intended to serve as a resource for those interested in building a community of practice within or across organizations, communities, and/ or regions.

Post – resources to support STEM in expanded learning programs is a comprehensive resource website created specifically to support STEM in expanded learning programs. Access assessment and planning tools, observation tools, curriculum, and funding opportunities to support STEM learning in your program. While you are there check out a whole host of STEM videos that outline how to implement quality STEM learning opportunities, describe promising practices in expanded learning STEM implementation, and inspirational videos that highlight the importance of STEM learning.