Monday, June 30, 2014

The Coalition for Science After School Concludes Operations

The Coalition for Science After School concludes operations today, June 30th, 2014. The decision to sunset CSAS reflects the tremendous growth of programming and attention to STEM in out-of-school time opportunities on a national level. CSAS leadership is deeply grateful to the funders, partners, supporters, and constituents that worked together to advance the STEM in out-of-school time movement during our decade of operations and that make up today’s rich STEM in out-of-school time landscape. As this work continues to expand and deepen, the many organizations that have emerged as leaders will continue to lead the critical work that remains to be done.

CSAS history and resources (reports, white papers, conference proceedings, etc.) have been archived as a project on, along with a record of CSAS contributors and leadership. You can access the CSAS archive on here.

After today this blog and our Facebook and Twitter accounts will become inactive, but will be archived such that the information they contain can still be accessed by those interested in the work of CSAS.

The National After School Science Directory (Connectory) will continue to be available after the CSAS sunset of operations. The Directory is in the process of transitioning to a new host organization--Directory members will not experience any disruption during this transition process. Users will continue to be able to update their organization's opportunities via the CSAS website, new organizations will be able to join the database, and parents will still be able to search the system through the Connectory portal.

We at CSAS have greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with many people and organizations over the last decade in building the STEM in out-of-school time movement. We are excited about the great momentum around STEM in out-of-school time, and look forward to the good work ahead!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Report and Call to Action from 2014 CSAS Summit Now Available!

From March 26-28, 2014, the Coalition for Science After School hosted our final summit, Passing the Torch: Advancing Opportunity for Quality Science Learning. The Summit was intended to: (1) celebrate a decade of progress in strengthening and expanding STEM learning opportunities in out-of-school time; (2) call attention to critical issues in ensuring that all young people have opportunities for quality STEM experiences in their local communities; and (3) stimulate ideas, strategies, partnerships and commitments to continue to increase opportunities for quality STEM experiences across settings. The report of the summit proceedings, A Call to Action from the 2014 Coalition for Science After School Summit, focuses on 11 areas to continue to advance the STEM in out-of-school time field after CSAS sunsets its operations on June 30, 2014. The report is available for download here, via!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Honoring and Remembering Dr. Alan J. Friedman

We were very saddened to hear that Dr. Alan J. Friedman, former director of the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) and great contributor to after school science and informal science education, passed away on Sunday May 4th, 2014.  As a coalition we work through the activities of our members, to which Alan was an active contributor and supporter. In that spirit, below we’ve compiled some of the many remembrances, memorials, and tributes to Alan that have popped up across the country in the last days. The warmth, reverence, depth, and sincerity of these offerings emulate his infectious spirit and convey the incalculable influence he had on the field of informal science education.

Trained as a physicist, Alan served as the director of the NYSCI from 1984-2006, where he transformed the museum from “an empty shell, the old exhibits removed and an inch of water on the floor” to a dynamic institution full of exhibits that ranged from “microscopes to windmills to the ‘world’s first three-dimensional dynamic model of an atom,” according to his obituary in the New York Times and a recent NYSCI blog post on the subject.

Prior to his tenure at NYSCI, Alan worked for twelve years at the Lawrence Hall of Science. As recounted in the Hall’s touching tribute to Alan, he established their planetarium and its interactive format, which served as a model for science centers worldwide. The Hall honored him with an Excellence in Science Education award in 2008.

Alan also served on the board of trustees for the Noyce Foundation, and recently presented on an AAAS panel on science after school with Coalition leaders Carol Tang and Elizabeth Stage.

In honor of Alan’s legacy at NYSCI and in the larger field of informal science education, his NYSCI colleagues created a site, Thinking of Alan , which has served as a powerful sounding board for the many people whose lives Alan touched over the years. Many CSAS leaders, members, and contributors have added remembrances to this site, including Lucy Friedman of TASC, Dennis Bartels of the Exploratorium, Elizabeth Stage of the Lawrence Hall of Science, Anita Krishnamurthi of the Afterschool Alliance, Ron Ottinger of the Noyce Foundation, and Carol Tang, former CSAS director and now program officer at the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, among many others. These leaders’ reflections span Alan’s extraordinary work as an innovator in and champion of science education, and as a mentor to many.

As Dennis Bartels noted in his post on the NYSCI site, Alan was a giant in our field. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy continues to be advanced through the many people he inspired and the organizations he guided.

A memorial service for Alan will take place on Saturday, June 14th 2014 at 11:00 a.m. Please RSVP to Nancy Schenk,

Monday, May 05, 2014

Passing the Torch: Advancing Opportunity for Quality Science Learning

After 10 years of work, the Coalition for Science After School will sunset operations at the end of June. To celebrate the accomplishments of the STEM in OST field and (more importantly) to advance the next decade’s work, in March the Coalition held a Summit that brought leaders in the field together for three days of reflection and discussion to envision the next decade of STEM in out-of-school time.

The Summit was a great opportunity for networking and forging connections across the field. Some attendees had been involved in the Coalition since its inception, while for others, the meeting was their first exposure—all were forward-thinking and committed to advancing more opportunities for quality STEM learning in out-of-school time.

Together, we co-created a history of the field over the last 10 years. Lots of great work has happened over the past decade, but a few things came through loud and clear: 1) The expansion and impact of state and regional after school networks is a significant development that has momentum; 2) There is an emerging conceptual framework that describes supportive ecosystems for STEM learning across settings; 3) While great strides have been made in connecting out-of-school STEM learning and science-rich institutions, important work remains to be done.

Diagram that maps conversation at the Summit regarding the last decade of work in the STEM in out-of-school time field. 

Looking toward the future, the meeting also illuminated some important opportunities and challenges facing us moving forward. As a movement, we need to:
  • Define and implement quality STEM programming in out-of-school time – to make quality programming a reality in every local community, program staff need effective professional development.
  • Ensure that STEM learning experiences are equitably distributed to young people across the country – in order to accomplish this, we need clarity on what equity looks like, responding to local needs in different communities
  • Confront the leadership gap – emerging leaders at the program level need professionalization, training and support to achieve quality STEM learning for all young people; leadership at all levels of the field should also be nurtured.
  • Produce more research and evaluation to help make the case about the importance of STEM in out-of-school time settings for both cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes. Research findings must be communicated to practitioners and funders to advance the field through evidence-based practices.
  • Deploy savvy advocates at the state and national level to champion quality STEM learning, and create shared messages and a vision for the future of the movement that will help make the case to the right people at the right time.
  • Meaningfully engage important stakeholders like scientists and other STEM content experts as volunteers and mentors for youth and program staff.
  • Pursue concerted collaboration with formal education systems, especially in light of the new Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards.
  • Increase collaboration in online offerings—to ensure they build upon and work in concert with each other
  • Invest in capacity building and strategies to sustain successful initiatives
  • Keep talking – the field needs sustained communication and connections to encourage deep cross-pollination of ideas.  Periodic gatherings of leaders are needed to illuminate differences in perspective and generate ways in which different part of the field can work together.

Lots of ideas and connections came out of the Summit that may lead to work to address many of these challenges. 

As the Coalition for Science After School passes the torch on advancing the cause of STEM in out-of-school time to the many other organizations engaged in this important work, now is the time for each of us to ask, “How can I chip away at these opportunities in my daily work?” And as a collective movement, how can we contribute to providing access for all young people to quality STEM experiences in their local communities?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Coalition for Science After School Sunsets After a Decade of Success

The Coalition for Science After School (CSAS) would like to announce that after nearly a decade of helping to lead and organize the after school science movement, it will sunset its operations in 2014. This decision comes after a decade of agenda-setting and cross-sector partnership development.

Established in 2004, the Coalition for Science After School championed the mission to make science, technology, engineering and math integral components of afterschool and summer programming by bringing together the experience and commitment of thousands of individuals and organizations across the country.  By bridging the afterschool and youth development community with science-rich institutions such as museums, science centers, universities and corporations, the Coalition has worked to increase the quality and quantity of science engagement in afterschool and summer learning settings.

Over the last several years, the field has experienced tremendous growth of programming and attention to science-related out-of-school time opportunities on a national level, due to both the work of advocates like CSAS and other social and political factors. The decision to sunset reflects a consensus among CSAS Steering Committee members that given the robust and exciting status of the science OST field, CSAS leadership is no longer needed.
– Judy Nee, Chair of CSAS Steering Committee

The leadership of CSAS feel that the field has moved into a new phase, one that presents new challenges and opportunities. Though science in OST has grown in prevalence, much work remains to be done to ensure the high quality of opportunities and provide equitable access to youth nationwide. We're confident that this work has taken root, but are concerned about the need to ensure that communities with a high concentration of poverty are not left out of the integration of science and after-school. It is our belief that much of the work necessary to address these challenges will take place at the local level. We strongly believe that the organizations and leaders who have emerged over the past decade in the science OST community are fully capable of addressing these challenges and continuing to propel the field forward.

In addition to fulfilling current commitments to our partners and collaborators, a major component of CSAS work in the next year will be to identify and train new partners who will continue to advance the work that CSAS has historically undertaken, including maintaining and growing a national directory of science-related OST opportunities. This project has been and will continue to be generously supported by our partner, Time Warner Cable, and their Connect a Million Minds initiative.

 Bernadette Chi will lead CSAS through the sunset work in the year ahead. Bernadette brings extensive experience in science program development and evaluation of OST programs and science education. She holds a PhD from UC Berkeley and has been recognized as a leader in the out-of-school science research community. Bernadette will take over for Carol Tang, who recently transitioned to a role as program officer at the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

CONTACT: Bernadette Chi at