Introducing Kansas City’s STEM learning ecosystem
KC STEM Alliance is a collaborative network of educators, business partners and organizations that inspires interest in science, technology, engineering and math to build a sustainable STEM workforce for our community.
Since it began in 2011, KC STEM Alliance has grown into a nationally recognized model for supporting K-12 STEM education and developing innovative ways to collaborate across sectors. In 2015, the alliance formalized partnerships with other Kansas City organizations and was recognized as a STEM Learning Ecosystem by the STEM Funders Network. The STEM Ecosystems initiative is a national effort to engage young people in STEM through strong interconnected community networks.
Vision and Mission
As a STEM learning ecosystem, our vision is to create a vibrant STEM-literate community that understands and uses science, technology, engineering and math in meaningful ways to improve lives. Our mission is to ensure access and equity to quality STEM experiences for all. To achieve that, our core values include finding and sharing high quality best practices, decreasing duplication of efforts, leveraging community assets and building on strengths of partnering organizations.
How We Work
The essence of KC STEM Alliance’s work is around cultivating and strengthening relationships regionally, statewide and nationally to build a strong STEM learning ecosystem in our region. The ecosystem’s leadership team represents vital parts of the community, including schools, out-of-school programs, museums, higher education, community-based groups, businesses and governments. This team provides leadership to regional initiatives that focus on improving quality, access and equity to STEM programs for all students.
KC STEM Alliance’s core work also includes regional implementation and support of best practice STEM programs and an emphasis on efforts to increase access for those who are under-represented. The alliance actively connects with regional initiatives focused on education (ReThink ED) and workforce development (KC Rising) to align efforts.
Leading through Cross-Sector Partnerships
Since Kansas City’s national ecosystem recognition in 2015, these cross-sector partners have guided the formation of our region’s STEM learning ecosystem. KC STEM Alliance serves as the backbone organization–providing key support for convening, communication and collaboration, and coordinating the ecosystem leadership team. The team’s top priorities:
- Growing and connecting cross-sector partnerships
- Aligning best practice STEM curriculum in school and out of school
- Providing educator professional development
- Improving college and career readiness
- Addressing access issues for all
- Technology/Communications: Identify technology platforms and communication strategies to increase awareness and connect STEM efforts
- Access/Transportation: Identify strategies to improve access to STEM program; including those that overcome transportation barriers
- Parent Engagement: Identify strategies for family/community engagement in STEM
- Educator Professional Development: Develop/align educator professional development around best practice STEM learning strategies
- Common Sector Competency Integration: Connect to KC Rising’s work on Career Pathways
- Industry Recognized Credentialing: Develop career pathway initiatives to meet employer needs; (Talent to Industry Exchange)
How to Find Out More
If your organization is involved in STEM education, advocacy or outreach, please let us know so we can connect you to this work.
For news, resources and ideas for cross-sector collaborations that engage STEM learners everywhere, see the STEM Ecosystem newsletter.