National PTA and Bayer USA Foundation
are collaborating in a national initiative to engage families in STEM education. Through this effort, National PTA and Bayer are working to deliver 100,000 STEM experiences over the next three years that engage entire families in hands-on activities both in schools and at home. The goal is to fill a critical gap in STEM education by increasing access to STEM experiences for all students and inspiring the next generation of STEM professionals.
"Decades of research shows the critical role families play in children's success and achievement – no matter a family's socioeconomic background. Research also demonstrates that parents and guardians are the most influential in guiding in a child's educational and career decisions," said Laura Bay, National PTA President. "Family engagement is essential to strengthen STEM education and help all children realize their fullest potential."
A recent survey commissioned by Bayer underscores the importance of family engagement to STEM education; key findings include:
- Parents are most likely to say they, themselves, play the biggest role in stimulating their child's interest in science (46 percent), followed closely by teachers (44 percent).
- Nearly one-third (31 percent) of parents don't feel confident enough in their scientific knowledge to help their children engage in hands-on science activities.
- One-third (32 percent) of teachers say parental support or involvement at home would be most helpful to increase hands-on science learning experiences.
In early 2016, National PTA and Bayer convened a meeting of over 60 STEM thought leaders from industry, education, associations, government, and family engagement research to explore how to fill the gap in STEM education. Participants discussed key insights, characteristics and best practices needed to spark a child’s interest in STEM through family engagement. As a result, main themes and common systems arose, leading to a shared understanding of the criteria required for developing an effective STEM family engagement program.
Through a variety of activities, grants, resources, and outcomes from the STEM Thought Leaders Meeting, the National PTA/Bayer Family Engagement Program will engage and empower families across the United States to support student success in STEM and inspire their children to pursue STEM careers. This effort will include increasing access to STEM experiences in urban areas, particularly among girls and under-represented youth, as well as involvement of local PTAs nationwide.
National Science Teachers Association
Bayer has been a long-time supporter of the National Science Teachers Association’s (NSTA) New Science Teacher Academy. Most recently, through a grant from the Bayer USA Foundation, NSTA is providing 6th-12th grade science teachers in NJ, who are in the first few years of their careers, with professional development resources and tools.
Bayer-NSTA Fellows receive a comprehensive NSTA membership package, online mentoring with trained mentors who teach in the same discipline, and the opportunity to participate in web-based professional development activities. In addition, each Fellow receives financial support to attend and participate in NSTA's annual National Conference on Science Education.
The NSTA New Science Teacher Academy is a year-long professional development program to help reduce the high attrition rate among early-career science teachers. Research shows that nearly 50 percent of early-career teachers leave their jobs in the first five years. Intended for science educators entering their second through fifth year of teaching, the Academy aims to reverse this trend by promoting quality science teaching, enhancing teacher confidence and classroom excellence and improving teacher content knowledge.
Since its inception in 2007, the Academy has provided high-quality professional learning opportunities to nearly 1,000 science teachers nationwide.
Tickets for Kids Charities
Tickets for Kids® Charities, one of Bayer’s partners for Making Science Make Sense, is dedicated to enriching the lives of in-need and at-risk children and families by providing access to creative extracurricular activities that encourage hands-on science learning. Through this partnership, Bayer and Tickets for Kids® Charities create exciting learning opportunities for children within their local communities. These opportunities aim to inspire future goals and dreams for each student.
Bayer recently provided Tickets for Kids Charities® with a $150,000 grant to help facilitate a Thank You campaign to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Making Science Make Sense. Every time someone shares a “thank you” message at SayTkU.com or via social media at #SayTkU, acknowledging a mentor who has inspired their scientific imagination, Bayer will provide free admission to a STEM-focused venue for a child through Tickets for Kids® Charities.
“We’re honored to partner with Bayer USA Foundation to mark this important milestone,” said Tickets for Kids’ Executive Director Jason J. Riley. “The opportunities that have been created over the last 20 years through the Making Science Make Sense initiative speak directly to our mission – to create equitable access for all children to experiences that inspire. We’re grateful for this support and look forward to the many new opportunities it will provide.”
Based in Pittsburgh, Tickets for Kids® Charities was founded in 1994 as a small, grass-roots operation and has grown to service in-need children and families all across the United States.