“Their process seamlessly integrates STEM, individual skills development for youth, and community engagement. Participants gain essential skills they will be able to apply in any setting."
-- Janelle Johnson PhD, STEM Education professor, Metropolitan State University of Denver
KIC-NET aims to reach at least 3,500 students in 60 schools by 2017.
To date, more than 1,200 students made 5,000 visits to 11 outdoor learning sites through KIC-NET. Through KIC-NET, students take classroom content around science and math standards and apply that knowledge to solve real-life environment issues in their community, deepening their understanding of STEM and STEM-related careers.
After using STEM tools to identify root causes of increased stormwater runoff, students planned and implemented 20 action projects, including hosting neighborhood water festivals, writing and distributing brochures on green infrastructure, and waging a media campaign to raise awareness and funds for dog waste clean-up along riverside trails.
Run by international nonprofit, Earth Force, KIC-NET (Keep It Clean – Neighborhood Environmental Trios) operates in partnership with government agencies, businesses, schools, and local parks. Using the Earth Force Community Action and Problem-Solving Process, a six-step instructional model, youth explore root causes of stormwater runoff, moving from community inventorying to action projects. Working together as a class, students partner with local engineers to conduct water-quality monitoring and investigation of their city. Then students use their data to design and implement a project that addresses a policy or practice related to the environmental issue that they identify.
KIC-NET reimagines the Clean Water Act’s required “stormwater education and outreach” as authentic “integrated instructional units,” a Next Generation Science Standards term, thereby meeting the needs of urban educators and their students. Each KIC-NET – comprised of a school, a park, and a surface water source, all in close proximity – becomes the students’ learning laboratory. KIC-NET provides an innovative way to meet a city’s stormwater permit requirements, offering a real-time response to the rapid increases in stormwater from our changing climate.
Immediate opportunities in Denver and Albuquerque are available for volunteers to engage in water monitoring opportunities, in-the-classroom support around STEM careers, and project judging and logistical assistance at the annual Youth Summits. Earth Force is seeking to expand to three additional KIC-NET cities in 2015-16. Each new network of 5-10 schools requires $60,000 investment for two years of program implementation. Monetary commitments of $5,000 - $10,000 for annual Youth Summits are also needed.Funders and Partners
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.