The 2015 Out-of-School Time STEM systems building institute was held in Omaha, Nebraska on April 14th & 15th. The institute was hosted by Beyond School Bells, Collective for Youth,and Nebraska 4H Extension and supported by the C.S. Mott Foundation, the Robert Noyce Foundation, and the Sherwood Foundation. This two-day institute was designed to provide networking opportunities, allow participants to share STEM experiences and learn about cutting-edge OST STEM system-building work in states and cities (including rural communities) from across the nation.
The Institute focused on providing attendees with practical insights into building city and statewide systems that would provide youth, especially youth from the most challenging educational environments, with high quality, engaging OST STEM experiences. Network Leads focused on the opportunity to network with other statewide afterschool network leads and learned about emerging national resources that support STEM system building efforts. Other team members were able to experience Omaha at its finest through a series of mini-plenaries developed around key city and state partnerships driving OST systems building work. Local businesses, universities and non-profit organizations hosted focused workshops that displayed high quality OST STEM programming and professional development systems. The Institute featured a communications strand (including the launch of the STEM Stories Project) highlighting tools that could be used to make the case for OST STEM.