About STEM Bridges
STEM Bridges is an initiative to place Engineers and other STEM Career Professionals (Entrepreneurs, Manufacturers, Doctors, Skilled Trades People, etc.) inside classrooms as Volunteer STEM Coaches .
Coaches apply their technical background and career-related experience to work with a 2 -12 teacher as a valuable resource for navigating STEM topics. The Volunteer STEM Coach brings real world applications, hands-on hardware and enumerable Project Based Learning opportunities into the classroom to help engage students in our ever-changing world of technology.
No new training is required to become a Volunteer STEM Coach. We match the existing skill-set of the professional with the STEM objectives of the requesting teacher, then they work together to meet the teacher's STEM objectives.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are supported by professionals from any number of technical backgrounds. This includes Retirees, college students, the self-employed, and professionals whose employer supports STEM.
Beginning in 1987, the Kodak 21st Century Learning Challenge placed 1,500 engineers and technicians into more than 700 Rochester City School classrooms. This was long before the Federal Government coined the STEM acronym.
The initiative consisted of three prongs: Classroom Visitation, mentioned above, One-on-One Mentoring, (a 10 year commitment), and a Worker/Teacher Job Exchange where 75 teachers went to Kodak every day for five weeks during the summer, and took over the job of his or her Kodak counterpart. "On Monday Ms. Johnson, from School #9, will be running the jobs scheduled for the Electron Beam Microscope, at the Kodak Research Lab." The premise was that hands-on, real-world experience enabled teachers to deliver STEM more effectively.
Whether Kodak is still involved or not, doesn't mean the classroom-visitation effort wasn't a good idea. STEM Bridges is focused on re-kindling the placement of STEM-Experienced Coaches into K-12 classrooms, supporting Teachers in all things STEM.