STEAM Policy Order

January 22nd, 2015






WHEREAS: Educational equity is critical for economic mobility and for addressing structural inequality; and

WHEREAS:  For the past ten months representatives from local universities, corporations, community non-profits, the School Department, and the Human Services department have been meeting regularly as part of a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) working group; and

WHEREAS:  The STEAM Working Group mandate is to develop a plan that improves coordination within and between out of school time STEAM programs for youth and adults, ultimately increasing the breadth and scope of educational opportunities for underserved communities; and

WHEREAS:  The Working Group builds off of the work conducted by former Mayor Henrietta Davis’s city-wide STEM inclusion roundtable and the work of various City departments, as well as work done by previous councils; and

WHEREAS:  Over the course of many months of research and citywide conversation, the STEAM Working Group has officially recommended that the City of Cambridge: make a citywide commitment to becoming a world-class STEAM city; establish a STEAM portal for internships and opportunities; create a STEAM Center in the city for learners of all ages;  create a comprehensive network of internships to match the skill level and interests of all learners; and launch a communications and outreach campaign drawing all families into the full range of educational and economic opportunities in Cambridge; and


WHEREAS: The STEAM Center will provide hands-on STEAM learning activities, exhibitions, workshops, presentations, and job training, eventually establishing satellite neighborhood STEAM Centers; and


WHEREAS: Achieving “ comprehensive network of internships requires the City to inventory and categorize existing internships, facilitate collaboration with potential host organizations to create new internships, and collaborate with researchers to evaluate and improve the entire network’s existing internship experiences; and


WHEREAS: A communications and outreach campaign launched by the City should sponsor “Wow” projects to engage students, adults, and the entire community in complex interdisciplinary projects, should:  use branding, newsletters, social media, email, mailings, and street teams to assure an increase in equity and participation; hold frequent neighborhood information sessions and focus groups to build residents’ knowledge about STEAM and Out of School Time opportunities, and to garner feedback on program activities; offer STEAM tours to build excitement and interest; establish a STEAM youth advisory group; and engage STEAM stakeholders and industry in leading this campaign; and


WHEREAS: The STEAM portal will function as a searchable database of STEAM/Out of School Time internships, activities, and opportunities, including an integrated calendar, searchable map, feedback options for learners and families, and feedback options for Out of School time programs, also including a digital badge system that will allow learners to track their own activities, progress, and options while communicating accomplishments to mentors and OST programs; and


WHEREAS: The most critical, central STEAM Working Group recommendation charges the City to establish and gather funds for a 3-4 person STEAM Coordination Office to implement the set of working group recommendations over 3-5 years or beyond; and


WHEREAS: The STEAM Coordination Office will work across city departments, the schools, companies, universities, nonprofits, and other organizations fulfill these recommendations as a community-wide effort; and


WHEREAS: The STEAM Working Group also recommends convening a standing STEAM advisory group that includes members from the current STEAM Working Group, STEAM  professionals, community members, parents, educators, learners, and other stakeholders, to bring valuable feedback to the STEAM Coordination Office and to review accomplishments, short-term goals, and long-term vision; now therefore be it

ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to determine the feasibility of executing the above recommendations with the appropriate City departments; and be it further

ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to present a plan for shared city and corporate financing of the STEAM Coordination Office and report back to the Council; and be it further

ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the council on this matter.

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