Natural Science Academy

As a non-profit organization, our goals are to implement innovative and transformative projects through capacity building, analysis and engaged community research while recognizing the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. STEM fields suffer from the lack of diversity: given that 30% of new jobs in the average metropolitan city are in STEM fields, the lack of a diversified workforce that includes women, African-Americans, Latina/os, and American Indians stands in the way of sustainable community development and growth.

Our Approach

PVCNSI approach is based on the philosophy of positive youth development and strong beliefs that interest in STEM fields at an early age can be successfully fostered through structured voluntary activities and organizational participation in problem-based educational programs.

Our Natural Science Academy will launch Massachusetts’ first community-based laboratories that will support formal and informal experiential natural science programs, and infrastructure enabling a wide learning ecosystem through our very own Pioneer Valley Coral aquafarm, incubator and co-working space and partnerships with Holyoke Public Schools (HPS), UMass Amherst: Center for Youth Engagement, US Fish and Wildlife Services, Nueva Asperanza, Lighthouse, Holyoke Safe Neighborhoods Initiative, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke, Springfield College Department of Biology. Our programs will offer hands-on projects focused on marine science, environmental engineering and environmental justice.

We strive to develop high-quality models of science teaching in classrooms by supporting implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards and creating a system aligned with A Vision for Innovation in STEM Education.

We based our experiential STEM educational programs on those developed at Northeastern University, as well as other innovative and successful programs such as Jon Swanson’s Coral Project at E. O. Smith High School in Storrs, Connecticut, using tools, strategies and experiences in Project Based Learning (PBL) from Buck Institute of Education and our partners UMass Amherst: Center for Youth Engagement.

GPA and involvement in other extra-curricular activities will not be included as admission criteria; we believe that these criteria are punishing and exclusionary, and may perpetuate assumptions about students’ potential or personal backgrounds, thus constricting opportunities for those that are historically excluded from STEM fields.

With your support, we can make this facility an ever-growing, one-of-a-kind model for community-based natural science education.

our support for:

Professional Development:

Curriculum redesign
Individual teaching models
Seminars and workshops

Youth organizations

Projects through Science Club

reaching for the STEM's

Our Natural Science Academy aims to: provide training and job opportunities to broaden the participation in STEM of those who are institutionally excluded at an early age; nurture an inclusive, engaging and supportive environment, which is essential for breaking stereotypical thinking about STEM candidates; and support long-term career pursuits beyond short-term engagement.

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