The National Girls Collaborative, in partnership with Time Warner Cable and Burroughs Wellcome Fund, commits to overseeing the scaling of The Connectory Exchange to an additional 10 sites (states, cities and/or communities) over the course of one year.
The expansion will take place following the model developed during the pilot with NC STEM in North Carolina, and each implementation will take approximately six weeks. The model includes a needs assessment for each potential site, identifying outreach and partnership needs, developing the technology to connect the Connectory backend data to the local resource website, and providing training, and ongoing community building.
NGC will provide ongoing supervision and operations management, maintaining and updating the national database and site; technical support; and promotional and outreach support. NGC will also facilitate the development of a community of practice of Exchange partners, to share best practices and lessons learned, by hosting regular conference calls with all partner organizations and an annual partner summit.
Each partner organization will commit significant time in needs assessment and training, as well as financial resources towards programming and development work. Exchange partners will identify and source local STEM opportunities to populate the custom directory, promote their site on a local level to drive participation of program providers and engagement of families and youth, and participate actively in the Connectory Exchange Community of Practice.
The Connectory Exchange will be implemented in Colorado, in partnership with Colorado STEM, the Colorado Education Initiative and the Colorado Technology Association; in Texas, through a collaborative of partners that includes the Texas Partnership for Out of School Time, the Greater Austin STEM Ecosystem, UT Austin K12 STEM Collaborative and the Informal Science Educators Association of Texas; and in Maine, in partnership with the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA). Seven other communities will be added by June 2017.
Through this expansion, The Connectory Exchange partners will help thousands of students and families access local STEM learning opportunities and enable program providers to be more effective and efficient in their efforts to reach their target audiences.
Timeline of the Expansion of The Connectory Exchange:
June 2016: Development of model documentation and implementation systems based on the North Carolina pilot implementation.
July - September 2016: Implementation in Colorado, Maine and Texas; begin Connectory Exchange Coordination Group monthly calls.
October - December 2016: Implementation in three new states (6 total); plan Connectory Exchange Coordination Group in person community building meeting.
January - March 2017: Implementation in two new states (8 total); hold Connectory Exchange Community Meeting with partners from all Exchange sites.
April - June 2017: Implementation in two new states (10 total).
Every family must have access to resources and experiences to successfully nurture, support, and reinforce their child's interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This is especially important for low-income and minority populations, who are vastly underrepresented in STEM fields.
The Connectory is well positioned to address this challenge. As the largest source of STEM opportunities in the U.S., this comprehensive database of youth-serving STEM programs and events is built to help adults connect more young people to the wonders of STEM, and for program providers to collaborate with one another. The Connectory targets families and others seeking STEM opportunities, featuring a range of activities for K-12 youth, including afterschool clubs, summer camps, and one-day events.
The Connectory Exchange is a local version of The Connectory, designed for a specific geographical area (state, city, county). It offers local organizations a turnkey, low-cost approach to developing and operating a custom branded, localized STEM directory. The front end white label is easily customizable for external hosting. While local users experience an environment reflecting local needs, programs and opportunities simultaneously become part of the larger database and benefit by the ongoing program approval, vetting, and customer services provided by The Connectory staff trained to respond to a high volume of input and users.
In January 2016, The Connectory and the North Carolina STEM Center began working together on the first instance of The Connectory Exchange. Funded by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and Time Warner Cable, this pilot is implementing a scalable model used to demonstrate to states, cities, and other regional groups, effective ways to leverage The Connectory for local impact. The Connectory is managed by the National Girls Collaborative (NGC). NGC has managed similar databases for more than 10 years, helping educators connect with one another to leverage existing resources.
The Connectory seeks: Implementing partners who can provide local STEM programs and identify and source local opportunities to populate the custom directory and keep it current and robust; Implementing partners who can promote their site on a local level to drive participation of opportunity providers and engagement of the public; Funding to support development and ongoing subscription costs; Media and marketing support; and Strategic direction and thought leadership.
The Connectory Exchange provides partners with the turnkey system of technology, functionality, and support to grow a communitys own custom directory of local STEM learning opportunities, powered by The Connectory database. NGC manages the technical and operational aspects of both The Connectory (national database), and The Connectory Exchange (multiple local databases), offers promotional and outreach support, and cultivates a community of practice. Local partners will gain access to The Connectory database functionality and data feed. Asset mapping, backend data analyses, and easy to use location mapping is available as well. Partners maintain a fully branded, custom experience, from end to end. Collectively, partners will help augment The Connectory and provide a more robust dataset for use national and locally.