Science Explorers

Science Explorers is a tutoring and mentoring program at Mather High School. Following our successful Science Club model, Science Explorers pairs a scientist with a small group of students. This individualized attention encourages learning, academic growth and confidence in the students. Unique to this program, Explorers meet with their mentor twice a week during the school day.

For many students, the transition into high school can be difficult. Students grapple with increased freedom and expectations and need to be self-driven in order to succeed. Studies have shown that student grades often drop an entire GPA point from their 8th grade to 9th grade years. Studies also show that students who fail even one class their freshman year are at a higher risk of not graduating from high school within four years. Like many schools, science is one of the most often failed subjects for the freshman at Mather.

Consultations with the teachers and an in-depth analysis of data on last year’s freshman class, indicate students in the academic middle see the largest drop in grades from middle to high school, and many consider this band of students to have the fewest resources for academic support.

As a result, Science in Society developed Science Explorers in partnership with school teachers and administrators to focus on entering freshmen performing in the middle of their peers. The program works in small groups with 9th grade students to improve their science grade as well as skills including academic behaviors, academic perseverance, and academic mindset.

After it's 2015 pilot, the Science Explorers team now includes five STEM Education Fellows, who are placed full-time at Mather High School. Outside of their scheduled mentoring sessions, the Fellows support teachers, classrooms and labs across the science department and enhance science opportunities more broadly within the school.

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