SEDL, a prestigious education research nonprofit, named Girlstart After School as one of very few U.S. STEM education programs for girls that runs for a full year, is based in research on what works, and lines up with academic standards for what all students should know and be able to do in math and science. Recent research suggests that Girlstart boosts girls' performance on standard tests and inspires them to take more challenging math and science courses in high school.
Based in Austin, Texas, Girlstart After School creates hands-on and inquiry-based activities across the STEM disciplines. At each partner school, Girlstart After School forms a club of 20+ girls who meet weekly throughout the school year for an hour of hands-on, informal STEM programming aligned with state and national standards. Girlstart After School intends to increase girls' mastery in STEM subjects by introducing them to real-world applications as well as activities that build participants' skills. To help support students' mastery and engagement in STEM during the school day, Girlstart offers professional development sessions for participating schools and teachers, and it further assists schools to accomplish their goals for STEM learning school-wide through programmatic and strategic support.
Girlstart uses monthly parent-association meetings (in both English and Spanish) and math/science nights to help parents support their daughters' interest and achievement in STEM subjects. Girlstart hosts community-oriented Science Extravaganzas and showcases of student work (prepared by participants) at the end of each semester. All Girlstart After School participants receive free registration and transportation to the organization's Girls in STEM conference, hosted at the University of Texas-Austin.
Girlstart is grateful for gracious and dedicated donors that have made Girlstart After School expansion and replication possible. They include: Dell; Education Foundation of America; Google; the KDK-Harman Foundation; the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation; Motorola Solutions Foundation; and NASA's CP4SMP+ initiative. In addition, Girlstart After School has donors among the CTEq member corporations, including Battelle; Connect a Million Minds (An Initiative of Time Warner Cable); IBM; and JPMorgan Chase.
The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against CTEq's Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.
Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.
Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.
Ensure work is sustainable.
Demonstrate replicability and scalability.
Create high impact partnerships
Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.
Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience
Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.
Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.
Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.