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Icon for: Andres Henriquez

ANDRES HENRIQUEZ

New York Hall of Science

NYSCI Neighbors

NSF Awards: 1844431

2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8

Located in Corona, Queens, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) is based in one of the most multicultural and diverse boroughs in New York City. Historically serving several waves of immigrants, Corona has seen one of the largest influxes of newly arrived and first-generation Latino immigrants over the last several decades. Inspired by the community’s diversity, NYSCI has developed NYSCI Neighbors to create a rich program of educational opportunities for children, families, and educators.

NYSCI Neighbors’ mission is to build deep, long-term relationships with the local community by collaborating with schools, community-based organizations and families to co-create opportunities that improve access and engagement with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).   

There are two components of NYSCI Neighbors: 

Science Ambassadors, is a free after-school program for students and families who attend schools that are part of the Neighbors’ Network. While at the museum, families can explore NYSCI exhibits and Design Lab, partake in Homework Zone sessions, develop skills in Maker Space.

Parent University utilizes a two-generation approach, where children and parents are engaged together, with the goal of helping families increase their awareness of STEM career opportunities that can help put children on a pathway to achieve academic and career success. Empowering parents as leaders and advocates for their children—and in their broader community—is an indispensable part of a child’s success: when parents are involved, children are more engaged, learn more, and over the long term, are more likely to attend school and graduate.

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Original Discussion from the 2019 STEM for All Video Showcase
  • May 13, 2019 | 11:30 a.m.

    This seems like a great program. How do you communicate your events to the wider community? (I'm wondering how families are first introduced to NYSCI and its resources.) 

     
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    Andres Henriquez
  • Icon for: Andres Henriquez

    Andres Henriquez

    Lead Presenter
    VP STEM Learning in Communities
    May 14, 2019 | 03:17 p.m.

    Hello Julia!  Thanks so much for your note. We communicate in a number of ways to our parents and the wider community: a) we work with the parent coordinators from our twenty schools in our network to get the word out about our Science Ambassadors afterschool program and our Parent University program;  b) we have tabletop activities in schools during PTA meetings and Parent-Teacher conferences; c) we have a good relationship with our local television station to talk about our program. Here is one example: https://buff.ly/2vQjhdr (all in Spanish) and here is another example with a different television station in English:  https://buff.ly/2WKicQn

    Hope this helps!

    Andrés

  • Icon for: Sara Lacy

    Sara Lacy

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 02:09 p.m.

    NYSCI looks like a wonderful place.  I'm struggling to disentangle all of the great things that are going on at NYSCI and the features of this specific project. What are you learning and what changes are you making as a result of this project?  

     
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    Andres Henriquez
  • Icon for: Andres Henriquez

    Andres Henriquez

    Lead Presenter
    VP STEM Learning in Communities
    May 14, 2019 | 03:13 p.m.

    Hello Sara! Thanks for your note. To your point, yes, there are lots of things going on. One of the things that we've learned as a result of this project is the way which communicate with our audience.  We're a hyperlocal project focusing on our zip code and we are lucky that we get lots of feedback from our stakeholders. We are trying the following: 1) simplify the names of our programs; 2) repeat as often as possible what our NYSCI Neighbors program is and the difference between Science Ambassadors after school and Parent Ambassadors program; 3) while we have a good relationship with parent coordinators in schools, we're trying to reach out to more science and math teachers who are less familiar with our programs.  For example, we're in the midst of co-designing activities with teachers that would add value to their classroom (assigning homework where they can use museum); 4) we're starting a Facebook page for parents since there is a demand to learn what is being offered specifically for them

    Most importantly, we're still learning and willing to change our program as we listen to our community's needs!

    Hope this helps.

    Andrés 

  • Icon for: Christine Cunningham

    Christine Cunningham

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 02:34 p.m.

    I love the idea of museum, school, families across generations, and community all learning together—what a great model! Can you share some takeaways from your experiences that might guide the efforts of others who might be interested in setting up something similar? Also, what are some of the surprises (positive or challenging) that you encountered along the way?

     

     
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    Andres Henriquez
  • Icon for: Andres Henriquez

    Andres Henriquez

    Lead Presenter
    VP STEM Learning in Communities
    May 14, 2019 | 04:02 p.m.

    Hello Christine,

    What a great question. Guidance for others that want to do this: 1) talk to members of your community before you start. Taking a pulse of what's important can help with program design; 2) Hire locally. we are in a community with many first-generation immigrant families.  Building trust with the community is essential. We've been fortunate in that we've been able to find staff that live in the community and are bi-lingual; 3) community work takes time.  Be patient!

    Some surprises:1) getting homework done before children get home s a big deal! 2) working with outside partners is valuable. For example, we're working with the Hispanic Federation to offer ancillary programs for parents.

    Henríquez, A. (2018). NYSCI Neighbors: Creating locally driven authentic opportunities for immigrant parents in a STEM Ecosystem. In M. Caspe, T. A. Woods, & J. Kennedy, (Eds.), Promising practices for engaging families in STEM learning. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

     

    Andrés

  • Icon for: Kim Koin

    Kim Koin

    Informal Educator
    May 13, 2019 | 05:11 p.m.

    Wow! So many wonderful programs happening under one roof! I'm curious about your training structure for your facilitators, parent ambassadors, and volunteers. Do you have some staff who do the demonstrations, while others facilitate the drop-in programs, etc.?

     

     
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    Andres Henriquez
  • Icon for: Andres Henriquez

    Andres Henriquez

    Lead Presenter
    VP STEM Learning in Communities
    May 14, 2019 | 05:15 p.m.

    Hello Kim!  We have a terrific staff.  Most importantly, my colleagues all have come to NYSCI through our Science Career Ladder program (https://buff.ly/2JHDAlB) so they know the exhibits and can do demonstrations in both English and Spanish.  In addition, our NYSCI Neighbor program works with every department in the museum, so we work closely with our educational services as well as our research and exhibits team. Our education team does many of our other programs that are drop off programs (computer programming, Google Academy, Maker Academy etc.).

    Andrés

  • Icon for: Kim Koin

    Kim Koin

    Informal Educator
    May 15, 2019 | 11:52 a.m.

    Wow! What a great program for staff! Thank you so much for sharing.

     
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    Andres Henriquez
  • Icon for: Andres Henriquez

    Andres Henriquez

    Lead Presenter
    VP STEM Learning in Communities
    May 15, 2019 | 01:33 p.m.

    Thank you!!

  • Icon for: Frank Davis

    Frank Davis

    Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 06:05 p.m.

    Sounds like a great program with a great resource in the New York Hall of Science. In several of the community oriented informal programs that I have worked with we have wondered how to engage public school teachers of students in these informal settings. Particularly, in learning more about their students and their parents as engaged learners and caretakers. On occasions we have seen teachers who observe their students learning outside of school begin to question their own expectations and practices that seem to produce an entirely different student in their classroom.  

     
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    Andres Henriquez
  • Icon for: Andres Henriquez

    Andres Henriquez

    Lead Presenter
    VP STEM Learning in Communities
    May 15, 2019 | 01:22 p.m.

    Hello Frank!

    So nice to hear from you.  I know exactly what you mean.  We were just talking to some teachers the other day about the way in which their perceptions changed when seeing a student outside class.  This particular student was in our Maker Space and we were giving teachers a tour of the museum. The student was ecstatic and ran up and gave the teacher a hug.  He graciously introduced his mom to the teacher and he then led the teacher to his workspace and explained what he was making.  The teacher was shocked to see the student so excited and engaged.  He apparently never speaks in class and struggles with some of his classwork.  It was an opportunity for the teacher to see the student in a completely different context.  The teacher's perception of who this student was and what she should expect from him shifted in that small interaction.

    Hope this note finds you well, Frank.

    Andrés

  • Icon for: Kenneth Huff

    Kenneth Huff

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 09:16 p.m.

    What a wonderful resource for the community and for families to come together at NYSCI.  What was the process for selecting the 20 schools in the community that are part of the program?  There were many ambassadors who appear to support this program in various capacities. How can individuals that are interested in becoming an ambassador learn more about this opportunity?

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Andres Henriquez
  • Icon for: Andres Henriquez

    Andres Henriquez

    Lead Presenter
    VP STEM Learning in Communities
    May 15, 2019 | 01:32 p.m.

    Hello Kenneth,

    There was not much of a process in choosing the schools.  We work in a densely populated area and wanted to target the schools in our zip code (11368). Within that zip code there are 18 schools (a few other just over the border) and we took it upon ourselves to make these schools our "neighbor" schools (ergo our project's title NYSCI Neighbors).  Our Science Ambassador students hear about our program through a number of events that we do throughout the year (PTA meetings, luncheons) as well as doing face-to-face visits and presentations at schools. 

     

    Thanks for your questions.

    Andrés

  • Icon for: claire shulman

    claire shulman

    May 16, 2019 | 04:25 p.m.

    a program that brings family together to learn and enjoy the learning  has so many terrific benefits  that it would  take pages to describe.the family becomes a solid unit held together on so many levels and learning is fun .. both parents and children have an unbroken link that is permanent that encourages a continuum

  • May 17, 2019 | 11:31 a.m.

    I really enjoyed your video. Can you say more about how you recruit Parent Ambassadors, and any qualities you look for in a parent that would make this a good fit for them?

  • Icon for: Jessica Andrews

    Jessica Andrews

    Project Director
    May 20, 2019 | 12:04 p.m.

     What a great program - It's so interesting to hear of the creative ways in which you are working with local schools to engage the entire family. Lots of food for thought here!

  • Icon for: Frank Davis

    Frank Davis

    Researcher
    May 20, 2019 | 12:09 p.m.

    Hi Andres,

    Great story about young student and teacher. Thank you for sharing. Hope we can get together some time soon.

    Frank

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