School/Community Partnerships

Executive Summary

Expanded learning opportunities afterschool, before school and during the summer months play an important role in determining a child’s future success, particularly among low-income students and special student populations. However, only 20 percent of Massachusetts’ approximately 1.3 million school-age children and youth have access to high quality programming during the out-of-school time hours, leaving 80 percent of the youth population unsupervised or undeserved during the hours of 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Since children and youth spend only 20 percent of their waking hours in the traditional classroom, many of the Commonwealth’s students do not have access to critical programming that takes place beyond the school day and supports academic success, promotes healthy social and emotional development, and prevents youth violence.

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MAP Technical Assistance Collaborative (MTAC)

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MTAC, the Technical Assistance division of the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership, emerged out of a growing statewide need for informed, effective technical assistance and professional development in the afterschool and out-of-school time field. In the past year, over 1200 educators attended MTAC trainings and conventions, including staff from afterschool, summer and school-based programs, and school district OST and in-school personnel, from teachers to principals. MAP’s extensive network of thousands of programs across the state and strong relationships with policymakers and elected officials helps MTAC bring the highest-quality professional development to the largest constituency.


MAP outlined seven specific strategies at the onset of this grant to support our system building efforts in Massachusetts. They included:

  1. Build the Capacity and Sustainability of the Regional PreK-16 STEM Networks to Identify and Support High Quality Informal Science Education Opportunities.
  2. Serve As A Statewide Voice for STEM in OST System Building Through Partnership
  3. Development and Collective Leadership.
  4. Expand and Support High-Quality STEM Professional Development Opportunities.
  5. Expand Role as a Key Policy and Advocacy Resource for Informal Science Education.
  6. Increase awareness and public visibility of the importance of informal STEM afterschool and extended learning opportunities to a child’s educational and life success, and to the success of communities.
  7. Intentional Data Collection to Inform the Impact of Informal Science Education in Massachusetts.

Leveraging the regional expertise of Massachusetts 9 STEM Networks, MAP has worked within their framework to expand youth’s access to and quality of informal STEM education opportunities in each region of the commonwealth. The network’s regional expertise has proven to be a very effective system through which we have grown our system building efforts.These strategies, along with a core set of individuals advising MAP on our statewide objectives, have allowed MAP to make significant progress towards supporting the Commonwealth in systemically infusing afterschool, out-of-school time and informal learning into its state STEM plan.

Creative Minds Out of School


Creative Minds Out of School is an exciting, new arts education program designed by the

Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership (MAP) in partnership with the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), and Davis Publications, the nation’s leading publisher of arts education materials.

Creative Minds is an investigative, exploratory approach to encountering artists’ tools, materials, and ways of working. When the emphasis is on exploration and discovery, there are no mistakes- only unique and diverse ways of creating. The Creative Minds curriculum engages children grades K-5 in high-quality art exploration and art-making in afterschool and out-of-school time settings.

Interested in scheduling some trainings? Contact Michele Quinlan at

a child proudly displays their artwork from a Creative Mind's art lesson

Zero Robotics

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Zero Robotics is a robotics programming competition where the robots are SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites) inside the International Space Station. The competition starts online, at, where teams program the SPHERES to solve an annual challenge. After several phases of virtual competition in a simulation environment that mimics the real SPHERES, finalists are selected to compete in a live championship aboard the ISS. An astronaut will conduct the championship competition in microgravity with a live broadcast!

Zero Robotics seeks to inspire our next generation of great minds by allowing them unprecedented access to space at the high school and middle school level. By making the benefits and resources of the space program tangible to students, Zero Robotics hopes to cultivate an appreciation of science, technology, engineering and math through healthy, immersive, collaborative competition. Another major goal of Zero Robotics is to lead young minds toward taking the concept of working in space as “normal”, allowing imaginations to go beyond the boundaries of rocket science.

All tournaments are free of charge. All you need to do to get started is (1) find a team of 5-20 students and a mentor, (2) create an account and (3) register your team for a tournament. Click here to go to and get started!