Can’t Find Someone Willing to Champion Your STEM Club?
A STEM Club is only sustainable with a reliable captain at the helm. Thanks Captain Obvious. But what happens when we can’t find that sustainable leadership within our own faculty? If your struggling with staffing your STEM club or afterschool program – you may be in one of two situations:
- You are seeking to launch a brand new STEM program and can’t find enough interested adults to lead your programming and staff your space.
- You have an existing STEM program that isn’t reaching its potential because of a lack of or gap in leadership.
After helping out with hundreds of STEM programs, we’ve found that lack of leadership is one of the main reasons that STEM programs fall flat. Without a diverse, enthusiastic team of leadership, a program will fail to bring in students, generate interest, and retain membership. Sometimes, finding your STEM club hero requires thinking outside of the box – and outside the classroom walls.
What kind of person do you need to lead a STEM club? The word “person” indicates singular. STEM clubs are a lot of work, and are best run by a multi-member team to avoid burnout.
4 Creative Solutions for Leadership in Your STEM Program
In most school districts, STEM clubs are championed by a teacher – often a STEM subject teacher. This person is the driving force, the delegator, the contact person – but this doesn’t mean they need to lead alone. Grow your STEM club team by seeking support from the following often overlooked areas:
Non-STEM teachers, Support Staff and Paraprofessionals
Support staff, paraprofessionals, and non-STEM teachers may be looking for other ways to serve the kids in the building. Volunteering to help with the STEM club might be just the thing they’re looking for. Make it known that the STEM club is looking for adult volunteers to help inspire children through hands-on, fun, STEM activities in a low-stress, collaborative environment.
Parent volunteers are the backbone of some STEM clubs. Parents are often looking for ways to engage with their students in STEM learning at home, so volunteering could be just the ticket. Parents have a lot at stake when it comes to the success of the STEM club their child is participating in, and are valuable contributors because of it.
Members of the STEM Community
Reach out to businesses in your community that have a vested interest in the growth of the future STEM workforce. Engineering firms, medical facilities, and local universities are all great places to look for experts to partner with. This win-win situation brings free, specialized expertise to the STEM club, while also bringing some great PR to the professional entity that offers up volunteer time.
Bringing on student volunteers from upper grades or advanced classes can double the student benefit in your club. Not only are club members getting a more comprehensive team of relatable young peers, but the student volunteers are gaining valuable leadership and community service experience. Bonus points if your student volunteers are previous club members, or in pursuit of a future STEM degree!
Responsible Staffing and Clear Expectations
Keep the following list handy to make sure your entire leadership team’s experience is a positive one:
- Obtain required clearance documents for all adults.
- Clearly communicate responsibilities to all volunteers.
- Involve the whole leadership team in some capacity during planning stages so that everyone feels a sense of ownership.
- Avoid putting staff members in positions they aren’t comfortable with or trained for.
- Make sure all STEM club team members, even those volunteering part time are thanked and appreciated for their time and contributions.
- Choose an easy to implement curriculum with the proper amount of support and training to make project launches a breeze.
How Can YOU Help STEM Clubs Nationwide?
Want to do your part to help STEM clubs nationwide in support of their leadership staff? Consider investing in Thimble. With the grace and consideration of our investment partners, we’ve been able to partner with hundreds of STEM programs nationwide. We bring ready to implement lessons, live online instruction and teacher support. STEM leaders are properly prepared with Thimble. Your investment can help us generate the kind of outreach necessary to bring awareness of this programming to struggling STEM clubs, in need of team-friendly programming.
Visit our Republic Campaign site today to learn more about our progress as an organization, and the ways Thimble has been helping thousands of students every day.