In 2010, Brooklyn Community Foundation made a $500,000 investment to expand the Central Brooklyn STEM Initiative (CBSI), an innovative model that utilizes NYU-Poly graduate fellows as co-teachers and role models to strengthen K-12 teaching and learning in under-resourced Central Brooklyn public schools.
CBSI empowers students and teachers with hands-on learning, via LEGO robotics, to open up student potential to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields by:
- Strengthening Instruction and Teaching Skills: During the summer, Fellows and teachers participate in professional development, collaborative work, and hands-on robotics workshops. Teacher-Fellow pairs identify key STEM concepts and integrate hands-on learning and technology into lesson plans.
- Enhancing Education and Improving Academic Performance: During the school year, each Fellow is assigned to one or two schools to implement curriculum and create engaging, real-world STEM projects in the classroom. Fellows spend five to ten hours per week at each school, performing demonstrations and hands-on laboratory activities. Teachers and Fellows also work together to help students with class assignments, exam preparation, tutorials, and science projects.
- Out-of-Classroom Learning and Inspiring Young STEM Learners: Fellows and teachers serve as coaches and mentors to FIRST LEGO League and FIRST TECH Challenge teams, revealing that what students surpass mere mastery of building robots—they also learn applied math and science, improve their computer skills, engage in research, work well in groups, and become effective presenters.
In Total GPA, 75% of participating students have shown gains of at least one-half letter grade.
Nearly one-third has gained at least one letter grade. Students working with Fellows reported that they increased their interest in STEM (77%); helped them learn more about STEM (82%); and helped them gain a better understanding of how STEM fields are used to solve real-world problems (73%).
Nearly 80% of CBSI LEGO robotics teams have advanced to regional and national competition.
CBSI was created through grants from the Foundation's predecessor, Independence Community Foundation, and the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation. Since 2007, the Foundation has contributed $800,000 to this program. Its cornerstone contribution allowed NYU-Poly to obtain large-scale funding from the National Science Foundation's GK-12 Fellows Program. Read the Foundation's Central Brooklyn STEM Initiative Report (June 2010).