learn / 2016
Bringing STEM to City Year After-School Programs in Boyle Heights and Pico-Union
Please describe your project proposal.
City Year’s pilot Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program will empower students to write code, create video games, and pursue their technology interests in our after-school programs, deepening their understanding of key academic fundamentals that will help them graduate from high school, while building relevant skills for some of California’s most competitive future careers. This grant will enable City Year to pilot this program at three high-needs high schools in Los Angeles.
Which of the learn metrics will your proposal impact?
- District-wide graduation rates
- Proficiency in English and Language Arts and Math
- Student education pipeline
- Youth unemployment and underemployment
In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- Central LA
- East LA
Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to learn?
Economic projections indicate that by 2018 there could be as many as 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs in the United States (Stem Depiction Opportunities). California, and specifically the city of Los Angeles, represents a huge percentage of these unfilled positions. It is an absolute necessity that LA’s children are prepared to meet the technological demands of the future.
Unfortunately, LA’s most high-need students are being disproportionately underprepared for the demands of the future workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Education for Civil Rights, 56% of high schools with low minority populations offer calculus, compared to only 33% of high schools with high minority populations. The same can be said for physics, which is offered at 67% of low minority schools but a mere 48% of high minority schools, and chemistry, which is offered at 78% of low minority schools but only 65% of schools with high black and Latino enrollment. Because of this unequal system, minority students are predisposed to be unprepared for future employment demands. These conditions perpetuate the cycle of poverty, and contribute to the struggle that children living in low-income communities have to change their circumstances. This is where City Year Los Angeles steps in to help.
CYLA places AmeriCorps members, aged 17-25, in Los Angeles’ highest need schools in order to intervene directly with students who are at risk for dropping out of school. CYLA corps members are responsible for guiding students through their coursework in English Language Arts and math, supporting students in their social emotional growth, and ensuring students attend school consistently. Additionally, CYLA corps members offer students “extended learning time” after school so that students understand concepts and are on track towards success.
This year, CYLA is implementing a STEM pilot in our after school space in order to enrich student knowledge of concepts essential to a well-rounded education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The program, called “Globaloria,” allows students to select which subsection of the STEM field interests them, and then complete independent, self-guided learning by using actual technology. Globaloria ensures students are learning real-world concepts by testing students in real ways. Through Globaloria’s platform students will write their own code, create their own video games, and design their own independent learning tracks. All along the way, City Year corps members will be there to guide students through learning these complicated processes. In addition, each pilot school will have a trained professional on site, ready to help students as they navigate their way through their learning.
Implementation of this program in CYLA’s partner schools is a huge step towards closing the opportunity gap amongst LA’s high school students. Help CYLA prepare the students of Los Angeles for the demands and opportunities of their future.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
CYLA will implement two assessments in order to evaluate the success of its STEM Pilot. The first is the Deveraux Student Strengths Assessment, or DESSA, which evaluates students’ growth in several areas of social emotional development. The DESSA measures such attributes as Personal Responsibility, Optimistic Thinking, and Goal-Oriented Behavior. All students attending the CYLA STEM pilot program will take a pre and post DESSA exam. We believe that growth in the DESSA metrics will indicate students’ increased confidence and sense of efficacy in STEM subjects.
The second method of evaluation is the Math Inventory. This exam assesses a student’s academic knowledge and skill in math at the beginning of the year, and generates growth goals that are tailored towards each individual student. Implementation of the Math Inventory has been so successful in the past, that many LAUSD schools are now using it to assess their students at the school-wide level. We believe the work that students will complete in the STEM pilot program will significantly impact students’ ability to achieve the academic goals set for them through the Math Inventory. The real world application of fundamental math skills will help inspire students to continue their studies. CYLA will measure its success based on the number of students who are able to meet and/or exceed their growth goals by the end of the year.
How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?
- Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)