Closing the Opportunity Gap in STEM Education


The Schools Fund has developed a major new initiative to create a community of opportunity for BUSD students. Our new STEM initiative grew from the Schools Fund’s support for STEM pilot programs over the last decade, building toward our collaboration with BUSD’s Career Technical Education (CTE) Program and Wareham Development to create a continuum of K-12 STEM program opportunities. Wareham Development has committed almost $1 million through the 2025-26 school year to support this program.

This “ladder” of programs will serve students from populations historically underrepresented in STEM fields and will open doors to educational and career opportunities for students in high school and beyond. 

The Schools Fund and BUSD will match Wareham’s funding and will partner to manage the STEM programming which will be out-of-school time for Kindergarten-12th grade. 

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


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. Next year, he will be a first generation college student studying filmmaking. 

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

The Berkeley Public Schools Fund, in coordination with BUSD, is offering a continuum of free K-12 STEM program opportunities out-of-school time during summer, weekends, and school holiday recesses, to close the opportunity gap in STEM education. These innovative learning opportunities are designed to increase diverse representation and to build student confidence and participation in STEM fields:

  • Winter and Spring Break Camps (K-5th Grade): Fun STEM exploration activities and field trips will enhance existing programming for our youngest students. (Check out last year’s pilot of this program)
  • Super Science Saturdays (1st-5th Grade): For 12 Saturdays during the school year, 240 students will get hands-on learning through field trips and age specific activities. 
  • Summer STEM/Maker Camp (6th-10th Grade): A 4-week, project-based summer camp for 250 students. Students will also be invited on weekend field trips during the school year. 
  • STEM/Maker Mentors (11th-12th Grade): 40 high school students will be hired as paid mentors in the middle school STEM/Maker Camp.
  • STEM/Maker Training Institute: To help students develop a sense of belonging in STEM, our programs prioritize staffing that reflects the diversity of our students. Our Training Institute will prepare BUSD’s after school and classroom support staff to work as STEM program instructors.

“This camp was really instrumental in encouraging my daughter to pursue STEM subjects, but there’s a need for further encouragement as girls and students of color continue through the years of middle and high school.”  — A STEM/Maker Camp Parent