Interesting....I recently discovered that a STEM program has been started with students from our school. There is a separate group for boys and girls. What baffles me is that our school has not publicized these meetings -- if it was through the parent group -- heck, I haven't read or heard anything about it until now. I learned about it through my kids because some of their friends are in the girls group. It is a poor excuse for me to assume but I think these STEM programs were formed amongst friends -- and it has not been open to anyone else to join. Really? Operating like a clique? STEM? Disappointed. What should I do? If this is how they are going to operate, then it isn't worth it for us to even ask to join. We don't believe in excluding others in our household. On the other hand, this would be embarrassing for other STEM groups to know that parents at our school formed a cliquey group.
Is it actually done through the school district and is it a part of the school district curriculum? Because it almost sounds more like a school club. STEM seems to be a fairly recent term that has become ubiquitous now, but I'm not quite sure where it comes from. I have a daughter who is taking Algebra II STEM in high school. The STEM courses at her school are kind of like honors courses, I guess--they are supposed to be more in depth. But then we have STEM "schools" which are basically STEM magnet programs within certain middle and high schools.
It should be through school. I did find one program at another elementary school in our town through the School Program Center but the one that is in question I cannot find. Next week I will ask our school if they know anything about this. I have combed our school blogs, newsletters and the website for information and have found nothing....which is why I am concerned. Friends of my kids are in this program in question and their parents haven't said anything to me about it...very odd.
I think you need more information. There's no reason a group of parents shouldn't be able to start an activity for their kids and I don't think it's cliquey (nor do I think there are "STEM groups" in any formal sense who would be embarrassed by that). I had a parent approach me a couple of months ago, knowing I had a math-keen kid, about getting our girls together with one or two other friends to do some math-related activities. As it turned out it wasn't something my dd was interested in and I don't know if the other parents pursued it, but I don't think there was anything wrong with it. If that's the sort of parent-organized interest-based 'group' you're talking about, I think it's fine if it is word-of-mouth. I don't think that sort of get-together should require any broader inclusion than a birthday party movie day or a family backyard BBQ. If you're talking about an activity that has been organized by a handful of like-minded parents, fueled entirely by their energy and their resources in order to nurture their own children's interests, I don't blame those parents for limiting the numbers and for working primarily with people they know.
If your child is interested in getting involved, find out who is organizing, and ask about it. If it's a great thing they've got going and it's bursting at the seams and you think more kids ought to be involved, tell them that, and ask if there's any way you can help with the administration and organization or with procuring more resources so that more kids can get in on it. There are some pretty neat resources and programs out there that can help with structuring such a club: MakerScouts, HackerScouts, DIY.org and so on. There may be grants available if someone is willing to do the legwork to apply. There may be an organization willing to umbrella the program so that it can grow -- if someone finds them and pitches the idea.
On the other hand, if the program you're talking about is a part of the school curriculum, is being facilitated by teachers, and/or is being organized and run through the school using school facilities, then there should be clarity and transparency about the criteria for inclusion. Sometime such activities are run as an enrichment for kids who have been identified as not being optimally challenged by their school curriculum, in which case teacher recommendation or particular test scores may be required. If not, then you should be able to ask for your child to be included.
So ask, find out, and be willing to help if it's important to your child!
Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups
Just call the school office and ask.
You don't have enough information to be upset yet. Find out what is going on FOR SURE, not based on rumors spread by children, and then decide if you should be upset.
but everything has pros and cons
Well, I contacted our school and the program is not affiliated with the district. The school is aware of the group but does not advertise it since it is run out of a parent's home. OK. I guess this isn't the program for us then since it was formed amongst a group of friends.
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