Partners in Learning: STARBASE Hanscom AFB and Bridgewater State University

  • Published
  • By Jaima Fogg
  • 66th Air Base Group

For the past ten years, STARBASE Academy here and Bridgewater State University have partnered to make STEM education accessible and meaningful to area kids. 

The partnership increases student’s exposure to STEM education and provides BSU teacher candidates with the materials and platform to teach in an authentic setting through an English language learner program. 

“One of the focuses of the program is to teach STEM to multilingual learners,” said Jeanne Carey-Ingle, BSU associate professor of Elementary and Early Childhood Education. “Our goal is to teach our teacher candidates how to make this content accessible to children who are multilingual or newcomers to Massachusetts.”

The English language learner program is unique and was created by Peter Holden, STARBASE Hanscom AFB director, as part of their outreach initiative. He noticed that some districts were pulling multilingual students from math and science classes to focus on English. Holden thought that method was a little backward.

“Who wants to focus on the thing that you are not good at,” Holden said.  

Holden’s team provides the BSU teacher candidates with the resources to utilize science and math to leverage the English skills.

“This is a great opportunity to affect change because you have the students and their teachers here together,” Holden said. “Teachers are seeing their students perform under different conditions and perform in ways that they never believed that they could.”

This year’s class of teacher candidates spent two days at STARBASE Hanscom AFB learning to teach STEM to fifth grade students from Boston’s Josiah Quincy School. The teacher candidates then took their skills and knowledge to teach robotics to students in Brockton’s public schools.

“It’s authentic science that our beginning teachers don’t always see in the school systems,” said Nicole Glen, BSU associate provost. “It’s nice to be able to come here and see that all day for a week straight with students.”

DOD STARBASE programs serve communities in 83 locations across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The program strives to provide students with “hands-on, minds-on” STEM activities and inspire them to observe real-world applications and careers.