Dear Science Supporters, Teachers, Donors, Family, and Friends:
Perhaps the most common phrase in 2020 was, “this year has been a challenge,” and as we all know, the same can be said for the education sector. But what has amazed us at Headwaters is just how much a challenge can inspire innovation, leading us to an even brighter future.
Things changed greatly for Headwaters this year. To start with, we made the conscious decision to halt all in-person school programs and overnight camps at the beginning of March. Not being able to work face-to-face and share hands-on science forced us to brainstorm ways to still deliver impactful learning by utilizing the power of technology. Through the creativity of a strong staff, the support of a committed base of donors, and a dedicated network of partnering community organizations, we discovered how to pivot our programs.
Midway through March, we began offering free online lessons aimed at keeping kids engaged in science even while traditional school was impossible. These lessons teach science concepts that reinforce classroom learning, expose students to professional scientists, and also show kids that science is far beyond what’s just inside a classroom. To date, we have created over 100 free video lessons and more than 15 digital learning packets for students, teachers, and families to access.
Our second huge accomplishment was figuring out how to deliver the same powerful transformations possible in our research camps through safe online learning. We offered three virtual Research Experience programs to high school students this year and delivered more than 10 full-ride scholarships. In these programs, our students learned how to create an academic quality research project, presentation, and research article under the mentorship of a STEM professional. You can check out all the student work in our original publication, the Headwaters Research Journal.
In the program, we noticed some impactful changes in our student participants. Upon entering the program, we surveyed students and only 26% of them felt “very confident” in their ability to use the scientific method. Upon exiting, 71% felt very confident. We were impressed with the effect on their confidence, and even more impressed with the work they produced.
These are just a few of the highlights this year among many. This year of challenges brought with it many little reasons to celebrate.
We deeply appreciate our volunteer board members, the teachers who have continued to use our lessons, and our financial supporters. From every dollar donated to every like and share of our video lessons, it all made a huge difference.
Looking ahead in 2021, we will continue to pivot our programs if and when the need arises to best serve our students, who deserve innovative and engaging science education. We will work hard to support the academic needs of students and families, and always welcome your feedback. We wish you a safe and happy new year and a bright future.
Yours In Science,
Megan Seifert, PhD and the Headwaters Team