Tier III includes personalized talent development through one-on-one or small group achievement mentoring.
Students will be matched with a mentor, with whom they will work on real-world, problem-based projects and receive advanced support in reaching their STEM-related career goals. Mentors will be STEM professionals or advanced graduate students with experience in industry. Teachers will facilitate students’ meetings with mentors and provide students with training with an affective curriculum focusing on STEM- and SEL-related topics.
The affective curriculum for Tier III focuses on the development of cognitive and executive functioning skills that are vital in STEM fields. These skills can be broadly grouped into three categories:
- Task-related skills are related to a person’s ability to conceptualize, plan, begin, and complete a task on time and to the planned requirements of specifications. Cognitive and executive functioning skills in this area include project planning, task initiation, time management, flexibility, creative problem-solving, and prioritization.
- Interpersonal skills focus on fostering strengths and abilities that allow people to interact with others in effective and compassionate ways. These include strong communication, teamwork, and conflict management skills, which support individual students within group settings. The ability to recognize other people’s strengths, understand other people’s perspectives, offer support, and stand up for the rights of others are especially important in STEM fields that have inequalities in representation of certain groups, such as girls and minoritized groups, such as African American, Latinx, and Native American students.
- Personal skills focus on each student’s socio-emotional abilities and skills that allow them to flourish in their task or field. These include developing self-confidence, working through challenges, accepting and learning from failure, setting personal goals (e.g., in career and academic achievements), and making sound and socially responsible decisions.