History

A Strong Foundation

In 1978, the Prospect Park Environmental Center (PPEC) was one of New York City’s first programs designed to help inner-city youth connect to the natural environment and understand their responsibility toward it. Founded and led by John Muir of Park Slope for over 20 years, PPEC changed its name to the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment (BCUE) in 1990.

As the importance of environmental education grew, BCUE’s programs evolved to serve schools and provide professional development for teachers. Emphasizing hands-on and place-based education, BCUE’s core programs sent trained science educators into thousands of classrooms throughout Brooklyn. As demand for programming increased and BCUE’s work extended citywide, the organization dropped ‘Brooklyn’ from its name. At its peak, CUE worked in 390 school and after-school settings teaching over 4,000 sessions that served nearly 100,000 students and teachers annually.

After nearly three decades in Prospect Park, CUE mounted an ambitious capital campaign to create a new center for education. Unfortunately, CUE was unable to able to meet the increased operating costs and was forced to close in April 2009, six short months after economic collapse of 2008. CUE’s closing left a large hole for schools, teachers, and after-school programs seeking to connect students to science through their urban environment.

A New Direction

CityScience was founded as a new and independent nonprofit in 2010 to support, nurture and develop more high quality science educators in urban areas.  Proud to carry forward CUE’s portfolio of time-tested student courses, CityScience shifted its approach to supporting educators and building partnerships that transform science education in urban areas.

Since its founding CityScience has worked with 35 schools and expanded learning time organizations, serving 1,050 students and 314 educators a total of 31,228 and 4,152 hours respectively.  Clients include: NYC Department of Education, Department of Youth and Community Development, the National Parks Service and large after-school intermediaries like the Partnership for After School Education and The After School Corporation.

The CityScience coaching model provides four entry points that meet the unique needs, budgets, timing, and goals of our clients.  Each level of engagement is grounded in an understanding that science can be a tremendously intimidating subject for educators lacking the experience or proper training to introduce the subject to young learners. 

Levels of Coaching engagements:
Lending Library
Student Explorations
Staff Workshops
Ongoing Partnerships

All CityScience programs improve the quality of science instruction available to low income urban students. By directly connecting cities to science education, CityScience improves scientific literacy, develops critical thinking and problem solving skills and prepares students for 21st Century success.

To ensure more high quality programs like this reach more teachers and students, please click here to learn about more ways you can support us.

Last updated 10/1/13

We want to prepare
100,000 new teachers in
the fields of STEM.
Barack Obama State of the Union Address, 2011