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Oregon STEAM Hubs: Building a Creative, Equitable, Future-Ready Oregon

Regional STEAM Hubs create equitable and accessible learning opportunities for every student.

Oregon’s 13 STEAM Hubs connect learners to STEAM experiences early and often, igniting passion and interest in STEAM fields. Through robust regional partnerships, Hubs provide the infrastructure to support initiatives and programs among schools, community organizations, and businesses so that all Oregon students can access high-quality, real-world learning experiences.

Learning Forerunner


HundrED has selected this innovation to

Learning Forerunners Across America

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Target group
Students basic
May 2024
We envision a future where all learners, regardless of background or location, have equal access to high-quality, hands-on STEAM experiences, sparking innovation and unleashing potential. By reimagining education, we strive to cultivate a diverse pool of skilled individuals ready to thrive in dynamic industries, driving equitable economic prosperity across Oregon.

About the innovation

STEM Innovation Grants

STEM Innovation Grants are designed to expand the implementation of effective programs related to STEAM education and to test out innovative approaches or programs that transform how our students learn and improve student outcomes. Funded projects must specify how the program or project will serve a significant number of underserved and underrepresented students and, if proven successful, how the approach will be brought to scale across the state and sustained beyond the term of the grant.


Oregon boasts diverse landscapes and abundant natural resources alongside innovative STEAM industries. Yet, access to quality STEAM opportunities varies, posing challenges for students, teachers, and schools due to distance and resource constraints.


Oregon’s STEM Hubs were created to facilitate regional partnerships that provide real-world opportunities for students to experience science, technology, engineering, and math in the state’s natural and man-made environments.

Regional STEM Hubs provide the connections and the infrastructure that allow programs and opportunities to be shared across multiple schools, districts, and regions so that any student in Oregon can access the rich resources available within the state's STEM ecosystem. STEM Hubs collaborate to bring new initiatives to the network, share learnings, and support the ongoing improvement of STEM teaching and learning across Oregon.

STEM Hubs' Commitment

STEM Hubs operate with the belief that every student, regardless of where they reside in Oregon, deserves access to the learning experiences that will inspire them to be innovators and prepare them to help solve the challenges of tomorrow. Through the state’s network of STEM Hubs, teachers and students can access opportunities, programs, or connections that would not otherwise be available.

Examples and Highlights of STEM Innovation Grant Projects: 

Computer Science & Digital Literacy: The Oregon Department of Education allocated grants to thirteen Oregon STEM Hubs. These grants aim to support projects that increase computer science opportunities, particularly for girls/women and students of color. The primary goals include enhancing access to computer science education, promoting diversity in participation, fostering equity-based systemic change, and boosting engagement. Over the past year, the Oregon STEM Hubs have made significant strides, engaging over 54,000 PreK-12 students in various computer science projects, providing professional development to 120 school districts, distributing supplies and equipment to support the growth and sustainability of computer science opportunities, and collaborating with community-based organizations to address barriers for underrepresented populations. While the grant will conclude in September 2024, the efforts of the Oregon STEM Hubs to advance computer science opportunities continue to grow.

Rural STEAM Leadership Network: This new network is built to specifically address the inequity of K-8 STEAM professional development resources and opportunities in Oregon’s rural communities by creating a variety of new collaboration and networking spaces - explicitly defined as made for and by rural educators and administrators. The network recognizes and responds to the need for increased time on science in elementary, which then integrates and embeds transferable STE(A)M skills and knowledge across the curriculum, ensuring long-term student success in STE(A)M. It also acknowledges the distinct assets of rural educators and the opportunities for innovation within smaller, more nimble systems. 

Early Learning STE(A)M:  Hubs introduced Wee Engineering through professional development and by purchasing materials for implementation in child care centers and pre-schools. Partnerships with local CCR&Rs, Early Learning Hubs, and Community College Early Childhood Education Programs have led to virtual conferences for 125 providers on Wee Engineering, Supporting Young Scientists, and Supporting Young Mathematicians. 1100 Early Learning Kits were distributed through libraries, summer reading programs, Head Start, Relief Nurseries, and Pre-School Promise. Kits are also available in Spanish. Virtual sessions, live and recorded, are available to parents to promote quality STEAM thinking. Materials for checkout to pre-schools and daycare centers have been purchased, focusing on mathematics and early coding skills supported by professional learning.

STEM Beyond Schools: This statewide project focuses on increasing access to STEM professional development (PD) opportunities for out-of-school (OST) educators who work primarily with students navigating poverty, students of color, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities in grades 3-8. For most students, out-of-school programs provide their only access to STEM learning opportunities and greatly expand their access to science learning. SBS is not a prescribed student curriculum. The “teach the educator how to fish, not just give them the fish” approach is based on a networked community of practice and responsive professional development. SBS empowers OST educators to build in best STEAM practices and flex their programming to respond to youth interests. During and after SBS, educators can continue to shift existing programming and provide responsive, equitable STEAM learning opportunities that center youth, incorporate the practices of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in community and culturally based programs, and are based on the research-driven 4 Core Student Engagement Strategies: 1. Students are doers and designers. “I (can) do it.” 2. Activities are place and community-based. “It’s relevant to my life.” 3. Youth interests drive programming. “I have Voice and Choice.” 4. Youth apply their learning to new situations. “I can do what I’ve learned again and apply it to a new problem.

High School Science for All: All students accessing rigorous science courses and learning is, at its foundation, an equity issue. The High School Science for All project brings three years of high-quality NGSS-aligned and vertically- articulated science curriculum to teachers and students. Too many students in Oregon achieve their required science credit requirements through introductory science electives rather than a pathway that supports the rigorous development of science literacy. This non-coherent model results in students, disproportionately youth of color and youth qualifying for free or reduced lunch, not accessing classes that would prepare them for college and career. The HS Science for All curriculum is open-source and available to all educators. This professional development/capacity-building project supports teachers and administrators in implementing this innovative curriculum. 

Math Leadership Capacity:  The primary goal of this grant was to increase the capacity of the Oregon STEM Hub Network to deliver high-quality STEM leadership development opportunities focused on math by creating professional development resources that can be leveraged statewide and utilized annually. The effort focused on developing two institutes, each providing 24 hours of professional learning. Expert educators led the development process that leveraged Equity and cultural expertise. Research-based best practices and a focus on Equity were core to the design principles. 

Other programming: 

Career Connected Learning

STEM School Transformation

STEM Leaders in Elementary Schools 

Design Thinking for STEM Equity

Industry-Connected Classroom Learning

Oregon Youth Voice in Action in STEM 

As a collective, the STEAM hub network is committed to exploring and expanding upon a number of valuable strategies to address needs associated with Community STEAM, through both multi-hub and regionally specific activities. Our primary strategies include:

Professional development is aligned with culturally responsive pedagogy and inclusive STEM instructional practices provided through in-person, virtual, and hybrid options that meet the explicit needs of the community educator populations served. Specific efforts will be made to support organizations with a focus on expanding access for marginalized youth to place-based and culturally relevant STEM learning opportunities.

Intentional partnerships that center investing in and empowering communities that directly serve underserved populations. Special efforts will be made to support organizations and groups with the least amount of access to resources, high-quality programming, and those most underserved/systematically non-dominant.

Creation and maintenance of networks to share resources and unify strategies, co-develop efforts, and align funding. Collaboration possibilities include Libraries, 4-H, art centers, outdoor schools, school summer programs, out-of-school clubs (scouting), community events (farmers markets, fairs, holiday gatherings/parades), and computer science events.

PK-12 STEAM program delivery, directly and indirectly, through innovative pilot programming that centers community engagement in developing STEAM identity for underrepresented groups (i.e., BIPOC youth, youth navigating poverty, STEAM + Special Education). Programming may include non-competitive science fairs, mobile maker labs, STEM & Arts community events, and more. 

Impact & scalability

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