Author Archives: Stephanie Levi, Ph.D.

New Report: Best Practices in Building Afterschool Systems

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.02.10 PMA new report published by the Wallace Foundation provides useful information for all of us who are working to build a citywide STEM ecosystem.  The report, “Growing Together, Learning Together” highlights best practices, essential elements of healthy afterschool systems, considerations for choosing data management systems, and examples from various cities.

The four key elements that exist uniformly across successful afterschool networks include:

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Update: RFQ Submitted!

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 1.28.00 PMWe are pleased to report that the STEM Funders Network STEM Learning Ecosystems RFQ has been submitted.  On behalf of Project Exploration, the Partner Agencies who have stepped up to guide this work, your fellow ecosystem members, and – most importantly – the young people who will experience richer STEM access and opportunities in the city of Chicago – thank you!

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What We’re Learning

The sector-wide conversations are complete, and we’ve analyzed our pre-survey data (responses are being collected on a rolling basis, even after the RFQ is submitted, so please fill it out today if you haven’t already!).

So many outstanding ideas came out of our sector-wide conversations – thanks to all who attended and participated in those!  Here is a sampling of what we’ve learned from our pre-survey data: Continue reading

Chicago STEM Learning Ecosystems RFQ: Sector-Wide Conversations

In documenting Chicago’s STEM Learning Ecosystem for the STEM Funders Network RFQ, the planning and writing group (consisting of all stakeholders who come to the table – email Stephanie Levi at to join us) has prioritized capturing the authentic voices of all STEM Learning Ecosystem stakeholders, including youth and families.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to have a face-to-face conversation.  Toward that end, leaders in the various sectors that comprise Chicago’s STEM Learning Ecosystems have offered to lead conversations with peers within their sectors to document what people truly think, need, and desire in our STEM Learning Ecosystem.

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STEM Learning Ecosystems: Strategies

A great deal of activity is taking place in order to support the completion of the STEM Funders Network STEM Learning Ecosystems RFQ (view the RFQ document here).  A group of stakeholders has been assembling every Friday to discuss the mission, vision and logic model of Chicago’s STEM Learning Ecosystem, and digest the data collected from our pre-survey (please fill it out if you haven’t already). Continue reading