Kansas City’s STEM learning ecosystem
Every young person deserves access to rich, connected learning experiences to develop the skills and mindset they need to thrive. Kansas City’s STEM Learning Ecosystem, called STEM Connect-KC, is an open, collaborative network working together to make this kind of STEM learning a reality in our region.
The KC STEM Alliance serves as the backbone organization for STEM Connect-KC, which is part of the national STEM Ecosystems initiative.
Vision and Mission
As a STEM learning ecosystem, STEM Connect-KC’s 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 It Works
STEM learning ecosystems shift the focus from thinking of education as one learning institution (schools) to focus on the learner and all of the places where learning happens—like museums, libraries, afterschool programs and at home.
To make “any time, anywhere” learning a reality for all young people requires a thriving ecosystem of opportunities. STEM Connect-KC supports this network by providing infrastructure to:
- Catalyze equitable, engaging and relevant approaches to STEM learning;
- Communicate success stories and amplify voices of network members;
- Convene a diverse cross-section of people and organizations around a shared vision;
- Coordinate activities to reduce duplication and leverage resources; and
- Champion best practices and accomplishments.
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:
- Addressing access issues for all
- 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
- Aligning with other regional businesses and education initiatives that benefit the region
STEM Connect-KC’s leadership team represents vital parts of the community, including schools, out-of-school programs, museums, higher education, community-based groups, third-party intermediaries, businesses and governments. This team provides leadership to regional initiatives that focus on improving quality, access and equity to STEM programs for all students. Organizations include:
KC Civic Council/KC Rising Initiative
Kansas City Kansas Public Schools
Kansas City Missouri Public Schools
UMKC Urban Education Resource Center
Areas of Focus
- Creating a Sense of Belonging in STEM
- Engaging Families in STEM Learning
- Focusing on Skill Development – Math
- Aligning with Schools – Real World Learning
- Connecting to Careers
- Measuring Impact
How to Get Involved
If your organization is involved in STE(A)M education, advocacy or outreach or other innovative work in these areas, please join the network! There is no fee, but all members are asked to be open to:
- Holding yourself and other network members accountable to the mission and vision;
- Creating a profile on the STEM Connect-KC Directory;
- Being contacted by other network members; and
- Following STEM Connect-KC’s values.