Educational Institutions

Headwaters Science Institute

Fostering curiosity through science.

SODA SPRINGS, CA   |  www.headwatersscienceinstitute.org

Mission

Headwaters Science Institute's mission is to foster curiosity through science. We teach the scientific method by engaging students' natural curiosity, guiding them to design and perform experiments that answer their own questions.

Notes from the nonprofit

Headwaters works hard to bring an engaging science education to as many students as possible. We are excited to have been evaluated at the accomplished level for STEM programs in the United states by the West Ed STEMworks program.

Ruling year info

2015

Executive Director

Dr. Megan Seifert

Program Director

Mr. Spencer Eusden

Main address

PO Box 913

SODA SPRINGS, CA 95728-0913 USA

Show more addresses

EIN

47-1714438

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

There is an immense need in the U.S. for great science programs for k-12 students. For them, understanding science and the skills involved in scientific research is critical in today’s world. The ability to research, assess information, and use critical thinking skills to make decisions is absolutely necessary for many aspects of modern life and full civic engagement. In addition, science jobs are growing rapidly and opportunities within this growing field are vast. Research has shown that cross-curricular and inquiry-based approaches improve student learning. This shift has been codified over the last five years with the introduction of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Next generation science is based on students doing science instead of being passive learners. We know that teaching content through the process of doing science is better for students found that students do better in class when they are actively learning science instead of passive learning.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

3-5 day Science Program

The central feature of these programs is giving students the context, framework, tools, support, and freedom to design and conduct their own short-term scientific field research. We work with teachers to take topics they are covering in class (biology, environmental science, physical science, etc.) and create relevant research projects with the students. Our programs incorporate multiple Common Core Standards while engaging students in science and the outdoors, through overnight experiences at off-campus sites. Example topics include: -population biology -heat transfer -co-evolution -animal behavior -CO2 and global warming -water science

Population(s) Served
K-12 (5-19 years)
Adolescents (13-19 years)
Budget
$100,000

Our professional development workshops are unique. Instead of talking with teachers about how they should theoretically teach students, we actually have the teachers observe the Student Driven Research protocol in action with real students. This is highly effective because the teachers get a sense of how these teaching methods work and how they can be adapted to their own teaching.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Budget
$15,000

Where we work

Accreditations

STEMworks- Accomplished Level Program 2019

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of free participants on field trips

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

K-12 (5-19 years),Students

Related Program

3-5 day Science Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total number of fields trips

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

K-12 (5-19 years),Students

Related Program

3-5 day Science Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total cost of work acquired this year (in dollars)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

K-12 (5-19 years),Students

Related Program

3-5 day Science Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of students showing interest in topics related to STEM

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

K-12 (5-19 years),Students

Related Program

3-5 day Science Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of groups/individuals benefiting from tools/resources/education materials provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

K-12 (5-19 years),Academics,Students

Related Program

3-5 day Science Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of clients who self-report increased skills/knowledge after educational program/intervention

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents (13-19 years),Students

Related Program

3-5 day Science Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Average number of dollars received per donor

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified,K-12 (5-19 years)

Related Program

3-5 day Science Program

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of clients participating in educational programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

K-12 (5-19 years),Academics,Students

Related Program

3-5 day Science Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of unique website visitors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Related Program

3-5 day Science Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of new programs/program sites

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

K-12 (5-19 years),Adults

Related Program

3-5 day Science Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

K-12 (5-19 years),Adolescents (13-19 years),Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of curricula designed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

K-12 (5-19 years),Adults,Students

Related Program

3-5 day Science Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of list subscribers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

3-5 day Science Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of overall donors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Related Program

3-5 day Science Program

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of donations made by board members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Related Program

3-5 day Science Program

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

Without Headwaters, many students would likely not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue an inquiry-based, intensive approach to learning science. Our goals are to get as many students in the United States to do their own research as possible. -Our programs participants consist of 50 percent low-income students and 40 percent minority students -We educate over 4,000 students per year -We work with over 20 school and 30 teachers per year -77% of students say they learn something in our program that they would not have learned in their traditional classroom.

Headwaters aims to serve all populations with our educational programs. We are committed to raising funds to provide free or reduced cost programs for the students who have no other source of hands-on science education. We make this possible by seeking grant funding, utilizing the generous help of individuals, and partnering with key community organizations, schools, and educators. -90% of our funding goes directly to our science programs, with just 10% re-invested in fundraising efforts and staffing. In order to raise the overall level of science education in schools and benefit students beyond those we can directly serve, we also focus on training the teachers we work with. We mentor them through the process of teaching science through actually doing science. In this way, every teacher we work with can go on to better impact all of their future students. Our multi-pronged approach gives students science knowledge and experience, research skills, increased critical thinking skills, a broader awareness of science career options, and builds their confidence. All of these work together to leave them better prepared for their future, in their careers and as members of society.

Headwater’s Science Institute’s programs are taught by high-level scientists who can provide excellent science education that fosters curiosity in the natural world and in the sciences. These scientists mentor kids through their research projects and make sure they understand the process of science through conducting research. Seventy-seven percent of students say they learn something in our program that they would not have learned in their traditional classroom.

We administer pre- and post- program surveys to measure the progress of our students. We track this data over time, examine trends, and adjust our teaching method accordingly. Another measure of our success is that we will work with more and more students. The more students we have access to the more we can accomplish.

In 3 years, we have: -Doubled our outreach 3 years in a row and are organizing more programs at a more efficient school district level. -From exit surveys 63% of students report our programs positively impacting their view of science. -77% of students report learning skills they would not have otherwise learned. -We increase the number of students, schools, and teachers we work with every year.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is the organization collecting feedback?

    We regularly collect feedback through: electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), paper surveys, focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person).

  • How is the organization using feedback?

    We use feedback to: to identify and remedy poor client service experiences, to identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, to make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, to inform the development of new programs/projects, to identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, to strengthen relationships with the people we serve.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    We share feedback with: the people we serve, our staff, our board, our funders, our community partners.

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to: it is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, it is difficult to identify actionable feedback.

  • What significant change resulted from feedback

    We are adjusting our out of school programs so that we can serve a more diverse population of students. We are conducting focus groups and surveys to figure out how to reach a broader range of students.

Financials

Headwaters Science Institute
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Headwaters Science Institute

Board of directors
as of 8/15/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Andrew Giordano

Sugar Bowl Academy

Term: 2017 - 2019

Andy Giordano

Sugar Bowl Academy

Erica Seifert

National Education Association

Jeri Ann Smith

Retired:Hewlett Packard

Craig Rowe

Copy and Content Group

Michelle Furbershaw

Retired

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 08/15/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Gender identity
Female

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/15/2020

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.

Keywords

science education, professional development, science empowerment, curiosity