ASMC was formed over twenty years ago when the National Science Foundation, NSF, began to invest resources in K-12 Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology ‘SMET’, the precursor to what we now call STEM.  At the same time, NSF developed a line of funding dedicated to systemic change in the elementary and secondary classrooms.

ASMC was designed to provide the ‘next step’ to a science reform initiative developed by the NSRC. Once a community attended a LASER Institute and developed a plan for change, ASMC’s role was to provide a platform to document and discuss successes, challenges, and sustainability through its signature event the Next Step Institute. The Next Step Institute allowed for LASER ‘graduates’ to host and attend a multiple-day program, which included deep professional development, ongoing innovation in materials support and in a learning community of professionals committed to similar goals and efforts.

In 2000, ASMC leadership was strongly committed to seeing the organization continue to provide quality professional development and support. ASMC has evolved into an organization that delivers consultative support to former LASER sites as well as new schools and districts that want to implement a hands-on inquiry based program and associated use of the materials.  Many of the progress that the former LASER sites, and other state efforts (such as Alabama, North Carolina, West Virginia, and California) have made in decreasing the gap in student achievement in science is directly related to their ongoing connection to, and participation in ASMC activities (to include hiring consultative expertise from ASMC in the formation of their new projects or advise in scaling existing projects).  It is through these and other professional relationships with (National Science Education Leadership Academy) NSELA and National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) that The Next Step Institute has continued to flourish.  With an average of 200 participants from across the United States and international participation ASMC continues to uniquely serve a segment of the field of science education that is not served by any other member-based or professional organization.  ASMC’s mission is to serve as facilitators of a hands-on and inquiry-based science learning community.

We continue to grow in order to address the current need in the education community, while maintaining our guiding principle of putting science in the hands of children.