"Step up to STEM"

Girard College is a Grade 1-12 college prep academy, providing full-scholarship, residential education to academically capable students from vulnerable neighborhoods. Girard’s “Step up to STEM” uses proven, nationally recognized curriculum components to provide strong STEM education for Girard’s population of at-risk youth. “Step up” is an ongoing initiative launched in 2011-12.

Innovation / Best practice. “Step up” brings private-school best-practice to urban-school students. Project has 5 elements that distinguish it nationally and address underrepresentation of women and minorities in STEM fields: A. early engagement, beginning in Grade 1; B. nationally-recognized components; C. innovative supporting components, D. broad range of partnerships; and E. dissemination, sharing model with schools that can benefit from Girard’s leadership.

Project activities. “Step up” activities increase opportunities for female and minority students by introducing pre-engineering curriculum at Lower School level. They identify students with strong aptitude in STEM curriculum early on and create structured, supportive pipeline to guide this cohort into High School STEM program. Support activities, again strengthening female and minority student opportunity, range from innovative “EXPLORE & DESIGN” Lab – flex-configurable tech & design space – to field trips, mentoring, and STEM-based summer camps. The project raises quality of STEM instruction school-wide as well as for STEM cohort.

Each of project curriculum components is nationally recognized, evidence-based, and well supported with professional development programs. Each includes normed assessment component. “Step up” is demonstration project designed for replicability and implemented by recognized leader in the urban school community.

Program Contact Info
First Name: 
Last Name: 
Dir. of Institutional Giving
2101 S. College Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19121
United States
Fax: 215-787-4400
Program Details
Year Established: 
FIRST Robotics
Program Focus: 
General Science
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Program Focus: 
Computer Science
Girls served annually: 
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Organization Info
2101 S. College Ave.
United States