The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute, created in partnership with the San Francisco 49ers, Silicon Valley Education Foundation, and Santa Clara Unified School District and supported by Chevron, is a six-year program that prepares students with high academic potential to be college and career ready. The institute aims to use STEM to inspire and prepare its students to pursue their passions and become the future leaders in their fields. The program is offered at no cost (inclusive of class time, materials and additional academic support resources) and is located at Cabrillo Middle School (grades 7-8) and Santa Clara High School (grades 9-12).


Core Values

The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute is built around nine core values, which it aims to instill in its students: collaborative spirit, communication, creativity, curiosity, determination, initiative, leadership, passion, and risk taking.

Rigorous college-preparatory curriculum

All students take enhanced math and science courses together during the school day, building deeper understandings and finding real-world applications in their content classes, with integration between subject areas and the engineering lab. Students are also held accountable for the A-G curriculum required for college entrance.

State-of-the-art engineering lab

As part of the international Fab Foundation network, the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute has two dedicated spaces equipped with resources needed to carry out extensive science, technology, engineering, and math projects. This includes digital fabrication tools (3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, ShopBots), robotics kits, laptops and tablets, and other cutting edge technologies.

300+ hours of additional learning time each year

Students deepen learning through hands-on projects, visits to local companies and laboratories, and preparation for local, state, and national competitions. Students also receive additional tutoring, mentoring, and coaching. These activities take place before or after school every week, two Saturdays a month, and for three weeks each summer. As 11th and 12th graders, students will take AP Seminar and AP Research as an opportunity to earn the prestigious AP Capstone Diploma. Parents are asked to partner with the Institute to support these activities.


Integrated curriculum includes:

  • Common Core State Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards
  • Interdisciplinary lessons and projects

Enhanced learning opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • Challenges/competitions: FIRST Lego League (robotics), FIRST Tech Challenge (robotics), ExploraVision, Tech Museum Tech Challenge, Maker Faire, science fair(s), Math Olympiad, AMC 8/10
  • Extended learning time available in the Cabrillo Middle School Chevron STEMZONE and Fab Lab Santa Clara High School to work on: coding/programming, electricity/circuits, and engineering/design challenges/span>
  • One-to-one iPad program for all students and access to additional design tools and software

Industry partnerships and opportunities include:

  • field trips
  • guest speakers/workshops
  • job shadowing

The program focuses on “design thinking,” a structured problem-solving process that emphasizes empathy and rapid prototyping, and empowers students to tackle real-world problems within their community


Students apply during a four-week window in the Autumn of their 6th grade year.
We also accept transfer applications from current 7th, 8th, & 9th graders in the late Winter/early Spring each year.

Visit our Admissions page for more information


“The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute’s vision is to be a leader in STEM education, preparing and inspiring talented learners to meet the challenges of the global society through innovation, collaboration and creative problem-solving.”
- John York, Co-Chairman of the San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute is a result of a powerful partnership between the San Francisco 49ers, Santa Clara Unified School District, and Silicon Valley Education Foundation. It is successfully impacting students through its team of dedicated teachers and administrators.


Questions? Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page

"Of all the things that [my Autumn competition track] has taught me my first year of being part of this competition is that it doesn’t matter what you actually win. What matters is what you learn and the experience you gain. Because there’s no bigger reward than a lifetime of experiences."

- 49ers STEM Leadership Institute 8th Grade Student.