"Afterschool: A Vital Partner in STEM Education" paper was recently released by The Afterschool Alliance. This paper provides compelling reasons to include afterschool programs as integral partners in STEM education. The paper highlights several existing models for providing infrastructure and building capacity to enable afterschool programs to facilitate high-quality STEM learning. It can be accessed at http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/Afterschool_as_STEMpartner.pdf.
The Afterschool Alliance began accumulating evaluation reports from afterschool STEM programs to derive aggregate impacts of STEM learning in afterschool. These data indicate that high-quality programs are successful in engaging children and youth about STEM fields and careers. By combining these aggregate impacts with research findings that indicate an early interest in STEM careers is related to a pursuit of such careers, the paper presents a picture of how afterschool programs are contributing meaningfully to our nation's STEM education system. Lastly, the paper posits that national, state, and local policies must now be advanced that will enable the afterschool community to fully realize their potential for facilitating STEM learning and help children and youth across the country become the innovators, scientists and engineers of tomorrow.