STEM2D, Field Trips, and Community Service: A Year of BTE in Englewood, Florida
In September 2021, BTE launched a program in Jacksonville, Florida, in partnership with Communities of Schools of Jacksonville, Englewood High School, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, and Florida State College at Jacksonville.
What’s been happening so far? Our program partners brought a combination of academic enrichment, career exploration, and higher education preparation opportunities to their student cohort, preparing them to pursue post-secondary education and STEM2D careers. Students have also had many opportunities to collaborate with Johnson & Johnson employees from the community who serve as volunteers, supporting the students’ discovery of STEM2D careers and education possibilities. Here are just a few of the activities BTE Englewood students participated in during Year 1:
STEM2D hands-on activities – Students have participated in several group science experiments in collaboration with the Johnson & Johnson Vision Care employee volunteers. Both students and volunteers have found the experiments to be a fun way to explore science. In addition, students participated in a short project, which allowed them to learn about more STEM2D, work in teams, and apply innovative thinking to a problem or need in their community. With their STEM2D kits, each team worked together to design and develop unique innovations and devices. They even got to test their devices. For students, this project was the intersection of their passion, creativity, and learning. It placed them in the seat of science, engineering, and technology, in a very tangible way. Students also visited the engineering innovation lab at Florida State College at Jacksonville, where they participated in hands on engineering activities and demonstrations including 3D printing, engineering drawing, robot programming, and much more. BTE Englewood is certainly finding ways to ensure that students have opportunities to explore the diverse disciplines within STEM2D.
Tours & Field Trips – BTE Englewood students have had many other opportunities to visit campuses in the Jacksonville community and nearby cities. One such visit was to the University of North Florida’s training facility for nursing students. There, students toured the labs and learned about the demand for nurses and the program offerings available at the facility.
Students have also made numerous visits to the local Johnson & Johnson facility. These visits have allowed them to explore the various careers available and meet with professionals to learn about their career paths while gaining inspiration and motivation.
Following feedback from students that they preferred out-of-school activities, the partners adjusted the program to include monthly field trips. In response, the students are showing up even more and are thrilled to be part of BTE. They continue to provide positive feedback to the program partners about the value they find in field trips. This is an important best practice in action: listening to program participants helps ensure that programming meets student needs.
The BTE Englewood program has also found ways for families to be engaged and included in regular programming. Families are invited to join many of the tours. The university campus tours have been well-received by parents. The program partners have also noticed that student attendance and engagement have increased: family inclusion has led to greater investment and interest in the program.
Leadership and Service – Program partners have also promoted community service among the BTE cohort, highlighting the importance of giving back and modeling the Johnson & Johnson Credo. Students identified a cause close to them, worked with partners to plan their efforts, and undertook a beautification project at their high school. They cleaned up the school grounds and improved the overall aesthetics of the school entrance. Students shared the positive impact of this experience and are planning to implement another community service project as part of BTE Year 2.
Academic Support – As students learn about STEM2D careers and about the educational requirements and kinds of STEM2D programs that are available at universities, BTE has also provided academic support activities to BTE students. Particularly, students have benefitted from math and science tutoring to support their academic performance at school.
With the program set to run through June 2024, the global BTE family eagerly looks forward to what’s next for the Englewood program. We can’t wait to see what’s in store!
Check out this link for more BTE Englewood highlights.