DoD Starbase Youth Program
The DoD STARBASE Program is managed by the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Reserve Affairs, and operated by the military services. STARBASE was created in 1989 through a grant from the Kellogg Foundation and first began at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan. The STARBASE mission is accomplished through exciting hands-on curricula and positive caring role models provided by the STARBASE team and military personnel. Beginning in Fiscal Year 1993 (FY93), Congress appropriated $2M to the Air National Guard (ANG) to establish five STARBASE sites. Today the program is authorized pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2193b, as a science and mathematics education improvement program known as the DoD STARBASE Program and operating at Active, Guard and Reserve facilities and installations through the United States.
The program is designed to raise the interest and improve knowledge and skills of students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The program targets "at risk" (minority and low socio-economic) students and utilizes instruction modules specifically designed to meet specific STEM objectives. The elementary school program is currently designed to reach students at the fifth grade level that are underrepresented in the STEM areas of study and careers. Students attend 4 or 5 days and are engaged through an inquiry-based curriculum with "hands-on, minds-on" experiential activities. Students apply Newton’s laws and Bernoulli’s principles as they study the wonders of space and properties of matter. Technology and its problem-solving techniques are utilized with computers in experiments, in design of all terrain and space vehicles. Math is embedded throughout the curriculum and teamwork and goal setting are a constant theme as students work together to explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate concepts. The DoD STARBASE mentoring program has been designed as a team mentoring model applying best practices from the mentoring field to the DoD STARBASE Program operating environment. In partnership with local school districts, the middle school and high school program is an after school STEM mentoring program that combines STEM activities with a relationship-rich, school-based environment to provide the missing link for at-risk youth making the transition from elementary to middle school, and from middle school to high school. It extends the positive impact of STARBASE through a team mentoring approach which solidifies students’ attachment to and engagement with school. Mentoring clubs are expected to meet no less than four hours per month. The DoD STARBASE Program is a productive investment in the future of our youth and will help build and enlarge the talent pool of potential workers needed to support the DoD workforce consisting of civilian and military personnel.
In FY09, over 65,000 students participated in the program from approximately 1254 schools and 369 school districts. Since the program’s inception, over 545,000 youths have attended the program and pre and post testing shows a significant improvement in student’s understanding and interest in math and science and in pursuing further education. The annual cost of operating a local program is approximately $317,000. Currently, there are 60 DoD STARBASE Program sites throughout the United States. The National Guard (36 sites), Air Force (5 sites), Air Force Reserve (3 sites), Navy (14 sites), Navy Reserve (1 site), and Marine Corps (1 site) participate in this program. Native American Outreach is conducted in Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.