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49ers STEM Leadership Institute

Multi-year STEM enrichment, skills training, & leadership development across middle and high school

The Program

The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute (SLI) provides multi-year, year-round academic support, STEM enrichment, skills training, and leadership opportunities to students in middle and high school.


 In the program from 7th through 12th grade, students enroll at Cabrillo Middle School and then Santa Clara High School, where they take SLI-specific math & science classes and then AP Seminar and AP Research their junior and senior years respectively. In addition, students commit annually to 300+ hours of program learning time in addition to their typical school hours. By cultivating student mastery in STEM subjects and in key skill areas, the program prepares students for college and empowers them to pursue their passions; so that they may become the well-rounded leaders of the future.

In-School & Extended Hours Programming

Our Impact

Shifting the way students learn and teachers teach STEM and soft-skills in public school


SLI has given me the opportunity to immerse myself in a community that constantly pushes me to grow in every way possible.

— Kylie, SLI Class of 2020

My experiences in SLI helped me to learn more about myself, develop a passion for the sciences, and cultivate essential life skills, such as communication and critical thinking.

— John, SLI Class of 2020

Inspiring. Unique. Driving. Motivational. And above all, life-changing… SLI inspired me to create, taking the most unique approaches to problems that surfaced and challenges we were required to solve.

— Ian, SLI Class of 2020

After six years in a supportive community of peers and lots of practice with public speaking, I’ve become a confident presenter; I can fluidly express myself, take charge of group projects delegate tasks equitably, and enjoy collaborating with others.

— Vibha, SLI Class of 2020

It's incredible to think how many opportunities SLI has given me, but more than that, I'm amazed that I've been able to form such close bonds with so many high-achieving, talented individuals.

— Vincent, SLI Class of 2020

The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute has pushed me to step out of my comfort zone, value my independence and chase my goals with purpose.

— Anjali, SLI Class of 2020

While I can't wait to accomplish great things in life, I will never forget the real-life skills, core values, and confidence that I've developed in the past six years.

— Rohan, SLI Class of 2020

Who We Are


The program’s administrative team works to facilitate extended learning time, the use of lab technologies, workshops, field trips, competitions, and industry partnerships; as well as other administrative support.



SLI's highly-trained district teachers collaborate on a daily basis to deliver robust interdisciplinary programming that utilizes project-based, experiential learning with real world context.



The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute is made possible by the strong partnership between Silicon Valley Education Foundation, 49ers Foundation, Chevron, and the Santa Clara Unified School District.


Students apply to the program in the late fall of their sixth grade year in order to start the program in 7th grade. We also accept transfer applications from current 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students.


​Apply to join in the 2024-25 school year:

6th grade application are due December 1st, 2023

7th, 8th, & 9th grade applications are due February 2nd, 2024


What does our admissions process look like?

Submit Application

After submitting their written responses, selected students will be invited to interview

Student Interviews

Welcome Meeting & 6-year Commitment

Written Responses

After submitting their initial application, ALL students submit written responses

Location & Contact


Contact Email

Cabrillo Middle School

& Santa Clara High School

Special thanks to Danielle B. (SLI Class of 2021) for her support in building the SLI webpages for this website.

Gold Bell Award

SLI received the prestigious Golden Bell Award, the highest honor from the state, in 2019

6-year Program

SLI tracks and supports students' growth in hard & soft skills from 7th grade through 12th grade.

Program Core Values

Collaborative Spirit, Risk Taking, Passion, Communication, Creativity, Curiosity, Determination, Leadership, & Initiative

Added Teacher Support

SLI's district teachers have an additional 250+ hours every year to develop interdisciplinary curriculum, support students' needs, & train in new technology & practices.

College & Career Readiness

Built around STEM subjects, design thinking, soft-skills, our fabrication labs, industry speakers and events, team work, college workshops, and culminating research projects, SLI prepares its students to be critical thinkers and leaders in whatever field(s) they pursue.

Cohort Model

By participating in SLI for six years, students benefit from a supportive, close-knit, network of like-minded peers.

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