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STARBASE Academy advances STEM for English-learning students

  • Published
  • By Lauren Russell
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – STARBASE Academy here is collaborating with the National Science Foundation and Bridgewater State University to improve science, technology, engineering and math education for English-learning elementary students across the region.

STARBASE, one of 69 Department of Defense Youth Program academies across the nation, focuses on increasing confidence and STEM learning for elementary students.

“Fifth grade is typically the age where students go off track from STEM learning,” said Peter Holden, Hanscom’s STARBASE Academy program director. “We work to get the students’ confidence in STEM back, but we also work with the teachers for better practices in these subjects.”

Officials from BSU were recently awarded a grant to partner with STARBASE Hanscom. The project will help student teachers develop STEM teaching skills, particularly for teaching students who are English learners.

The program will begin its first of three phases this fall when STARBASE officials will work with BSU professors to establish a curriculum for teaching students.

Holden, who holds a doctorate in planetary geology, explained that students who are learning while English is their second language often miss out on advancing in STEM courses, as their curriculum focuses more on improving their language skills.

He hopes this upcoming program will better improve community STEM practice across the region, and benefit both the teachers and students.

“This is about taking fragmented lessons, and building a model that enriches the students’ STEM experience,” he said.

To learn more about the STARBASE Academy at Hanscom AFB, visit