Do I need to be from Santa Clara Unified School District in order to apply?
Yes. In order to apply for the program, students must live within the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) district boundaries at the time of the application deadline. The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute is a district program, and we are unfortunately unable to support students who live outside of SCUSD boundaries.
Click herefor a map of the SCUSD district to see if you live within the boundaries.
If I am part of the Santa Clara Unified School District but currently attend a private school, can I still apply?
Yes. Students are welcome to apply, even if they are not currently attending a school in the Santa Clara Unified School District. They must, however, live within the school district and be affiliated with a home school site.
Can I visit the program or shadow a student? Are there events where I can talk to teachers, parents, and students in the program?
Unfortunately, at this time, we do not host student visits or offer a shadow program, since it can be disruptive to class and valuable work time. However, we do hold several information sessions before applications are due in December. At these sessions, current students are available to answer questions from prospective students and describe their personal experiences with the program. In addition to the informational sessions, there is an Open House event at which families can visit the lab space and school site.
How many students are accepted each year?
The application process occurs during the 6th grade year, during which the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute is able to accept sixty students to join the program beginning their 7th grade year. These students, should they complete all requirements, will continue in the program (no need to reapply each year) through their final year of high school.
What is the timeline for the class of 2024 application process?
11/20/16: Application Opens
11/29/17 – 12/2/17: Information Sessions and Open House
12/15/17: Application Closes
1/12/18 – 1/14/18: Semi-finalists invited to interview
1/16/18 – 1/19/18: Semi-finalist interviews
1/29/18 – 2/2/18: Accepted students notified
2/2/18 – 2/7/18: Accepted students commit to program
What was the timeline for the transfer application process?
The exact dates for the transfer process change every year. For the 2018 timeline, please check back in February, 2018.
For an example of a previous transfer timeline, see the schedule below from the spring of 2017.
3/16/17: Application opens
4/7/17: Application closes
4/19/17 – 4/21/17: Semi-finalists invited to interview
4/24/17 – 4/28/17: Semi-finalist interviews
5/8/17 – 5/12/17: Accepted students notified and commit to program following commitment meeting
What documents are accepted for the student transcript portion of the application? What if the school office is closed for the holidays?
An official transcript is required as part of your application this year, and can usually be obtained directly from your school counselor or front office. Please leave enough time prior to the submission of your application to request a copy of this document from your school site.
If I am not accepted during the application process, can I apply again the following year?
As our students stay in the program from the 7th through 12th graders, there may not always be opportunities to apply at a later time. We are only able to reopen the application process for students in later years if a current student is unable to return to the program for the following year. This happens occasionally, and when it does, applications for these vacant positions will be accepted in the Spring of each school year so that students can join the program for the following school year.
Registration and Enrollment
Is there any cost to attend the program?
No. This program is generously offered free of cost to families. The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute is offered as a partnership between the Santa Clara Unified School District, the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, and the 49ers Foundation and is fully funded; no tuition is required from students.
We are also partnered with other organizations that support various efforts and offerings of the program, so that all qualified students are able to participate in the program regardless of their family’s financial situation.
What is the student commitment?
Accepted students are asked for a six-year commitment, from the 7th through the 12th grades. During this time, students are expected to attend a three-week summer session each year, starting with the summer leading into the 7th grade.
In addition, due to the rigorous and innovative nature of a program that focuses on STEM content, non-cognitive skills, design thinking, and extracurricular competitions and challenges, students are asked to spend time in the program beyond the regular school day. This amounts to 300+ hours of additional instruction and work time; twice monthly on Saturday mornings and every Wednesday before school (at the high school level) or Wednesday after school (at the middle school).
Occasionally, student competition/challenge events will fall outside of these scheduled dates, or there will be optional reinforcement opportunities that are shared by the program staff to participating families.
How much parent participation is expected?
Parent participation is a key part of how we support the students throughout the school year, and we highly encourage all families to contribute in any ways that they can. However, we understand that parents have varying levels of commitment to work and other activities outside of the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute. As such, we offer a variety of ways in which parents can support the program, ranging from small one-time offers (contributing materials, chaperoning trips, speaking at an event) to longer-term commitments (mentoring student teams).
Student Schedule & Curriculum
What type of academic support is offered to students?
Beyond working directly with program teachers, small group tutoring is also available after school, and on a case-by-case basis individual tutoring can also be arranged as needed. All tutoring services are offered free of charge to families in the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute.
In addition, the program team includes a counselor at both the middle school and high school campuses in addition to the regular school counselors during the day. The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute counselor helps to ensure that students who need academic support have resources, and that additional strategies and programs are shared with families in the program.
What competitions do students participate in?
Students regularly participate in challenges and competitions that include (but are not limited to) FIRST Lego League (middle school robotics), FIRST Tech Challenge (high school robotics), Tech Museum Tech Challenge, Exploravision, Maker Faire, Synopsys Science Fair, AMC, and Math Olympiad.
These competitions and challenges encourage students to work collaboratively in groups to apply the knowledge they are gaining in the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute to real-world style situations and tasks. It is a wonderful chance to focus not only on STEM skills but on other 21st century skills that will help our students to be well-rounded.