National Science Foundation Expands STEM Core Model Across the U.S.

More students with degrees in STEM subjects are needed to meet growing job demands. The STEM Core Initiative, partially supported through an NSF Design and Development Launch Pilot (DDLP) Award (2016-2018), addresses these barriers through a foundational learning community model that incorporates math acceleration, contextualization, intensive support, and internships. The "STEM Core", which has been implemented in 15 community colleges in five states, has increased the one-year calculus readiness rate from single digits to approximately 65%. The regional STEM Core work of the San José Evergreen Community College District’s Silicon Valley Engineering Tech Pathways, under the leadership of Dean Alex Duran, is part of the larger STEM Core Initiative Network already in five states. The model will now expand more broadly as the STEM Core Expansion Alliance.

The expansion will be based in a national network built around a backbone organization (Growth Sector) and four regional hubs designed to promote regional expansion of colleges and employers, continuous improvement through regular convenings and a network-wide digital platform, and sustainability through enhanced regional partnerships. The network will address underlying institutional barriers by incorporating professional development for math faculty in growth mindset as well as equity and access training for counselors to assist in promoting STEM degree pathways for remedial students. The Community College Center for Economic Mobility (CCCEM) will coordinate the hub for Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. CCCEM will partner with Stanford University to create and provide professional development for faculty, including counselors, that STEM can be a viable pathway for developmental math students.

STEM Core Expansion Alliance will provide access to STEM pathways for remedial students, disproportionately from underrepresented groups, and will thereby increase the diversity and size of the pool of CC students advancing to calculus and promote high-growth, high-wage STEM career opportunities.


Four Levels of Action


Building on pilot program success, the Alliance intends to engage nearly 5000 remedial students in 30 community colleges over the next 5 years.


The Alliance will promote expansion of the STEM Core model at partner colleges through shared data, professional development, and technical assistance.


Through the hub providing coordination, support and dissemination, additional colleges and employers will be incorporated into the Alliance.


Through convenings, collaboration with the national hub and dissemination beyond targeted regions, the Alliance will recruit partners at the national scale.


Pacific Northwest Hub

In partnership with the Stanford Graduate School of Education – Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative, the Pacific Northwest Hub will serve partner colleges and create professional development opportunities for faculty and others to support teaching and learning.

Stanford Education Professor Jo Boaler, Ph.D., will provide key leadership for the professional development offered through the STEM Core Expansion Alliance. Author of the recently released, Mathematical Mindsets, Jo Boaler is revolutionizing the way we learn and teach maths. Her Stanford based website,, has had more than 24 million page views since its launch in 2015. Her research interests include: Mathematics teaching and learning - in particular, how different teaching approaches impact students' learning; how to teach mathematics for a “growth mindset”, and how equity is promoted in mathematics classrooms; STEM and mathematics - why women and girls choose out of science and mathematics; the role of group work and mathematical discussions in the development of understanding; and, the ways teachers may be supported in moving towards equitable and effective teaching environments.

Excerpts from: Stanford Magazine retrieved 12-07-2018 from:

Stanford Graduate School of Education retrieved 12-07-2018 from

Recent Conference: Strengthening STEM Core Pathways to the Tech Economy: March 7-8, 2019 A symposium bringing together members and partners of the STEM Core alliance, with Stanford University researchers in learning science. The convening will explore pathways to the tech economy and address institutionalized low expectations for underrepresented students in math and science.

Strengthening STEM Core Pathways to the Tech Economy