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When It Comes to Representation in STEM Education, Parental Involvement Must Not Be Overlooked.

Updated: Oct 16, 2022



When it comes to representation in STEM education, parental and community involvement must not be overlooked when it comes to increasing the representation of girls and children in the BIPOC community interest in pursuing college and careers in the STEM fields. A 2018 Bayer Facts survey 2018AnnualReport.pdf (crscience.org) indicates that about 60 percent of urban school teachers want more emphasis on science education and that school leaders should include family engagement in supporting students in the STEM pathway from Pre-K through high school.


One-way schools could encourage parental involvement that could foster their Childs' interest in the STEM fields and nurture their Childs' confidence is through interactive, hands-on activities, field studies, or field experiences within the BIPOC communities. This collaboration and interaction could be like parents and educators planning cool activities aligned to the NGSS standards and involving the students at parent/teacher conferences, open houses, or school events. Rather than information through web pages or newsletters, such activities could help teachers share educational resources. Getting the teachers, the parents, and the students to collaborate over fun and interactive activities aligned to STEM-oriented standards could get the parent to ask, is this happening in the STEM classes? I discovered the other side of my child I was unaware of. How can I support my child to develop these STEM-oriented skills?


Is this the only innovative strategy that could encourage parental involvement that could foster and sustain student interest in the STEM fields? No. However, a creative approach that encourages collaboration between educators, parents, and children designing STEM-oriented activities creates an inclusive and equitable learning environment that motivates students to take a step forward on the path to STEM careers. Collaboration between educators, parents, and students could even help foster STEM Ecosystems within the BIPOC communities and even unite communities and engage educators and individuals within and outside a formal educational setting.


The Center for Public Education (CPE), a research branch of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), agrees and recommends four STEM strategies for family engagement STEM with Family Engagement (nsba.org). They suggest that schools create a short list of community resources on STEM for students to take home and share with parents. Schools should discuss STEM and the family's important role in STEM education. Schools should encourage parents to foster their child's interest in STEM and nurture their confidence. Then schools should mentor parents to start math learning early and daily (don't forget science, technology, engineering, and reading and writing).


Another essential strategy for getting parents and the BIPOC community involved is communication between parents and teachers about the benefits of STEM careers. Communication could be done through weekly or monthly communication not only through email and newsletters, but class DOJO set up by teachers and social media to create an environment of transparency and help the parents see what the school is doing in STEM education and why. Furthermore, consistent communication helps parents and the BIPOC community understand how they can help their children learn science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in and outside the classroom.


Communication through a survey is another meaningful way of collaborating between the school, parents, and the community. Understanding parents' and community's perceptions and feedback about their children's STEM education and the possible job promise and security could be invaluable in increasing the number of girls and more members of the BIPOC community interested in college and careers in the STEM fields.

Finally, another strategy is getting teachers to inform and train parents on what to expect on any new changes in educational policies and curriculum reforms and how to better support their children outside of STEM classrooms with STEM-oriented resources.


Although, some could argue that getting parents to attend training opportunities can be challenging. True, but many parents will listen and collaborate on STEM nights or conference days with the right incentives like food, door prizes, free ticket, and inviting their favorite celebrities.


Authored by Dr. Ayo Olufade

Think Integrated STEAM Careers! You Have the Opportunity to Create the Future and The Privilege of Deciding What's in It! ~ Dr. Ayo Olufade, PhD

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