ASSET has always championed innovation and systemic improvement within the education system and within the organization itself. In order to continue to meet the evolving needs of education leaders, ASSET has aligned its focus to develop solutions for formal and informal educators across the nation, including:
- One-on-one coaching and mentoring to sustain and supplement educator learning
- Remote and blended learning delivery
- Initiatives focused on entrepreneurial mindset, noncognitive and 21st century skills, career and workforce readiness standards, Project-based Learning, NGSS, Three-dimensional Teaching and Learning, data literacy, and climate change
- Hands-on materials consulting, needs assessment, and distributor referral
Founded in 1994 by the Bayer Corporation and other community partners, ASSET began as a pilot program which utilized the National Science Resources Center's model for education improvement and reform in two school districts in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In 1995 and 1998, grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) fueled ASSET's growth to 30 school districts.
At this time, affordable, evidence-based learning materials were few and far between. ASSET developed a materials leasing program to provide educators with cost-effective access to these vital classroom tools. By partnering with programs like Smithsonian Science Education Center, the Lawrence Hall of Science, the Society of Automotive Engineers, and Carolina Biological, ASSET leased evidence-based STEM learning modules to schools, districts, and educational organizations across Pennsylvania and beyond. ASSET transitioned to a fee-for-service model in 2001, providing educators with professional learning and leased STEM materials.
From 2006 to 2010, ASSET designed, managed, and implemented the statewide initiative ‘Science: It's
Elementary' (SIE) in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Through this program, the organization scaled up to 180 districts across the state, impacting approximately 5,000 teachers and 185,000 students.
Building on the success of the SIE program, in 2010 ASSET was awarded a prestigious U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) grant to validate its programmatic impacts in rural and high-needs schools. An independent program evaluation found that ASSET-supported teachers developed increased understanding of content and concepts, improved pedagogy, and strengthened collaboration with peer educators, advances that fostered increased student achievement in science, math, and reading/English Language Arts in high-needs schools (Nedley, 2016). These advances led to the inclusion of ASSET’s Elementary Program into WestEd’s STEMworks Database, a national collection of evidence-based programs that deepen young people's learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
In 2014, ASSET celebrated its 20th Anniversary by launching Access ASSET, a scholarship program that provides professional learning and hands-on, minds-on classroom materials to educators and learners in under-resourced schools and organizations. In 2016, ASSET earned membership in the national 100Kin10 network, which is dedicated to adding 100,000 STEM teachers to US classrooms by 2021. ASSET was also recognized at an event at The White House as a leader in early STEM education improvement.