Closing the Opportunity Gap in STEM Education

The Berkeley Public Schools Fund offers free K-12 STEM programs to close the opportunity gap in STEM education. During out-of-school time and coordinated with BUSD, the Schools Fund’s STEM programs provide high-quality, hands-on learning opportunities for student groups currently underrepresented in STEM college and career fields— in the summer, on weekends and during mid-year school breaks.

  • Winter and Spring Break Camps (K-5th Grade): Fun STEM exploration activities and field trips enhance existing programming for our youngest students during school breaks.
  • Super Science Saturdays (1st-5th Grade): For 12 Saturdays during the school year, 240 students are invited to Super Science Saturdays for hands-on learning through field trips and age specific activities. 
  • Summer STEM/Maker Camp (6th-10th Grade): A 4-week, project-based summer camp serving 250 students that helps prepare students for college and career pathways at Berkeley High.
  • STEM/Maker Mentors (11th-12th Grade): 40 high school students are hired as paid mentors in the middle school STEM/Maker Camp.
  • STEM/Maker Staff Training: To help students develop a sense of belonging in STEM, our programs prioritize staffing that reflects the diversity of our students. And in order to make our STEM programs sustainable, we train BUSD’s after school and classroom support staff to work as STEM program instructors.

Two-thirds of the academic achievement gap in ninth grade can be explained by disparities in access to summer enrichment opportunities.

— Johns Hopkins University Sociology study

PARTNERSHIP TO CLOSE THE OPPORTUNITY GAP IN STEM EDUCATION FOR BERKELEY STUDENTS

The Schools Fund’s K-12 STEM initiative offers high-quality programming outside of the school day for our BUSD students furthest from opportunity. A collaboration with BUSD’s Career Technical Education (CTE) Program and Wareham Development, the continuum of programming is designed to cultivate a sense of belonging and a love of learning for students. Wareham Development has committed almost $1 million through the 2025-26 school year to support this initiative.

This “ladder” of programs serves students from populations historically underrepresented in STEM fields and will open doors to educational and career opportunities for students in high school and beyond. Every year, 500 + students become part of a learning community on weekends, in the summer and during winter and spring breaks.

The Schools Fund and BUSD annually match Wareham’s funding and partner to manage the STEM programming.

We are actively seeking additional private donations to help meet this match. Please donate using the button below or contact Erin Rhoades at erinrhoades@berkeley.net.

Martin-Present

Martin Fierro Noriega is one of the first Berkeley High graduates whose experience has been shaped by the Schools Fund’s STEM programming.

When he was younger, Martin didn’t plan on going to college. Now he aspires to be a cinematographer and is pursuing that as a first generation college student studying filmmaking. 
Read Martin's Story

SUPER SCIENCE SATURDAYS

For 12 Saturdays during the school year, 240 students in 1st to 5th grades get hands-on learning through field trips and age specific activities. 

The goal of Super Science Saturdays is to spark an early, lifelong interest in STEM learning for our students from populations that are underrepresented in STEM college and career fields. During Super Science Saturdays, students will: visit two local science museums, participate in hands-on workshops and assemblies hosted by local STEM organizations, and be engineers that design and build solutions to real-world problems

STEM/MAKER CAMP

Maker Camp is a 4-week, project-based summer camp for 250 students in 6th to 10th grades. This high quality STEM enrichment summer camp provides experiences for students from populations that are underrepresented in STEM college & career fields. Maker Camp introduces students to the Career Technical Education (CTE) program at Berkeley High School where, starting in 9th grade, students can take hands-on, STEM-related classes that will prepare them for college and careers. Enrollment priority is given to students of color (all genders), girls, and gender expansive youth.