Below is a roundup highlighting some of the great work our grantees and Foundation staff accomplished in April 2019.

STEM Learning Ecosystems

The STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice announced the addition of 15 new ecosystems. This represents a 20 percent increase and shows national recognition of the importance of ecosystems, which build meaningful connections among community partners to prepare students for the opportunities and challenges of the future.

The STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice (SLECoP) was built on the belief that learning happens everywhere, not just in traditional classrooms. Consequently, ecosystems are made up of partners representing K-12 public and private education, business and industry, after-school providers, non-profits, STEM-rich institutions, government, and philanthropy. The new ecosystems to join the SLECoP range from states of Iowa, Texas, South Carolina and West Virginia to regions like Biloxi, Miss., Broward County, Fla., Central Mass. and Lincoln, Neb.


FIRST Robotics held its Championship events in Houston and Detroit, attracting more than 70,000 students, coaches, and supporters from 70+ countries. The events are the world’s largest celebration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for students.

Amazon partnered with FIRST to provide 100 $10,000 Amazon Future Engineer Robotics grants to schools serving students from underrepresented and underserved communities across 21 states. In New Jersey, this includes the Newark Public School district, five KIPP charter schools in Newark, and one school in Jersey City.

Overdeck Family Foundation currently supports nearly 200 students from 20 schools in New Jersey to compete in the Newark March Robotics Madness competition.


UPSTART, which aims to provide early education to 250,000 children across the U.S., is highlighted as one of the eight 2019 projects to launch through TED’s $280M Audacious Project. UPSTART provides proactive family coaching and personalized learning for preschoolers, and is  designed to be a resource for those families otherwise would not have access to high-quality programs.


The Washington Post spoke to Dr. Patricia Kuhl of I-LABS for an article on supporting children’s language development. Dr. Kuhl provided the following tips: Speak slower. Use short sentences with proper grammar. Slightly over-enunciate your words, especially nouns and verbs. “Research shows that parentese itself predicts future language, so we want parents to talk more and to talk specifically in parentese,” Kuhl says. “Mostly this is an unconscious thing, but we want it to be a conscious thing.”

Math in Media

Po Shen-Loh’s collaboration with Evie Clair, a finalist on America’s Got Talent, launched across Instagram and YouTube. The video explores how to use mathematical concepts to give music composition a Coldplay-like effect.

Vision To Learn/Helen Keller International

Vision To Learn and Helen Keller International’s op-ed about the importance of vision care for all students ran in The74. The writers state that, “Access to vision care should not be a privilege afforded to the few. Ensuring that all children can see the blackboard is key to helping them fulfill their potential in school and in life.”