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learn / 2015

Providing minority students opportunities in science technology engineering and mathematics.

Providing minority students opportunities in science technology engineering and mathematics.

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Great Minds STEM Society

Great Minds will be a hands-on, research-based initiative set to improve the STEM skills of boys and girls in Grades K-12, which will include sustained professional development for teachers that focus on effective instructional strategies and methodologies. Our organization goal is to have an innovative STEM program that will be a leader in preparing youth, who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, to become scientific scholars.

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • South LA
  • City of Inglewood

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Conduct research
  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Implement a pilot or new project
  • Advocate with policymakers and leaders
  • Implement and track policy

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • Youth unemployment and underemployment
  • District-wide graduation rates
  • HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math
  • Academic Performance Index* scores
  • College matriculation rates
  • Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

African Americans, Hispanics, and women are overwhelmingly underrepresented in many STEM fields. Inadequate preparation in STEM subjects has major consequences in higher education, which limits their participation in many well-paid, high-growth professions. GMSS programs and services will encourage the enhancement in the academic development of our boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, influence, and ownership. GMSS will not only be a place for learning and growth, but a place students can come in with their curious minds to have fun in discovering the strengths and limitations of each STEM field, absorbing these phenomena as a multifaceted and intricate whole. It will be a place where scientific futures are planted in the minds of our youth every single day. GMSS is more than compelled to give youth in the City of Inglewood something of their own: a scientific facility in their community, one that they will know belongs to them. We want to give youth the sense of ownership and pride within their community uniting them with something positive. The goal of this program is to provide youth with the instructional activities to develop hands-on experience and skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. Participants in this program will improve their overall efficiency in the basic subjects of math and science while being prepared to take on other rigorous STEM coursework, required to succeed in such specialized fields. As a result of our program, these students also will benefit in the overall improvement of their grades and their level of achievement on the California Standardized Test. To facilitate student improvement, GMSS will secure a facility containing labs for science, technology, engineering and math activities. Great Minds STEM Society will also create a professional STEM development program to improve teachers’ subject matter and content knowledge in STEM. GMSS will train teachers to develop specialized teaching techniques as well as instructional strategies, allowing him or her to establish effective methods for teaching their students STEM subjects. It is important to GMSS and the students of Inglewood to provide these teachers with the support needed to create effective curricula and tools for identifying students’ success. In addition we will provide free workshops for people in the community needing skills in Microsoft Office which will be essential for them to be better suited for employment opportunities.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Each student will have an individual profile containing their school grades, state assessment results, and their initial math assessment from GMSS. Student profiles will be monitored and updated weekly examining areas of weaknesses, completed and uncompleted projects, attendance, number of hours used at the facility, number of hours on specific project, and skills acquired and mastered. Our evaluations committee composed of GMSS staff, school district administrators, and faculty will conduct initial student evaluations. Our committee will evaluate students quarterly, analyzing their progress and capability to meet academic expectations. These results will reveal the students’ rate of growth, strengths, weaknesses, and motivation. Students start by taking a customized assessment in math, which will assist us in identifying their needs, allowing GMSS to meet them where they are academically and develop them into scholastically inclined students.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support