learn / 2016

The Bilingual Scientists, Engineers, Mathematicians and Innovators (SEMI) Program

The Bilingual Scientists, Engineers, Mathematicians and Innovators (SEMI) Program

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Patrick Henry Foundation

The Scientists, Engineers, Mathematicians and Innovators (SEMI) is a bilingual program training the next generation of global STEM professionals.


Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

• Hopscotch & Doodles: http://www.hopscotchanddoodles.com/, • Patrick Henry Foundation: http://www.patrickhenryfoundation.org/, • Long Beach Unified School District: http://www.lbusd.k12.ca.us/, • Patrick Henry Elementary School: https://henry-lbusd-ca.schoolloop.com/, • Patrick Henry PTA: http://patrickhenrypta.com/, • California State University Long Beach: https://www.csulb.edu/

Please describe your project proposal.

The Patrick Henry Foundation, in collaboration with California State University Long Beach, will develop and incubate the Scientists, Engineers, Mathematicians and Innovators (SEMI) program, a new bilingual (Spanish and English) curriculum that introduces 5th grade elementary school students to STEM in a culturally-relevant manner.

Which of the learn metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Proficiency in English and Language Arts and Math
  • Early education
  • Student education pipeline

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

  • South Bay

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to learn?

The Scientists, Engineers, Mathematicians and Innovators (SEMI) is a bilingual program that will help make LA the best place to learn by incubating a culturally relevant Science, Engineering, and Math (STEM) educational program for elementary students in English and Spanish. Los Angeles County is one of the most diverse counties in the U.S. with 47.7% Latino/Hispanic, 27.8 % Caucasian, 8.3% African American, 13.5% Asian Pacific Islander and 11% other. Per Census data, 39.4% of the population in LA County speaks Spanish at home. This means that our future scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and thinkers will be bilingual and bicultural. Not to mention, STEM opportunities are on the rise in the county with companies boasting innovation and new technology. The SEMI program will prepare all students with the opportunity to learn STEM in a hands on interactive course in both English and Spanish. Patrick Henry Elementary School is 1 of 4 two-way English Spanish Immersion School in the Long Beach Unified School District, and the only school where 100 percent of the classrooms are dual immersion. The Patrick Henry dual immersion education gives children the opportunity to become bilingual, bi-literate and bicultural by the end of 5th grade. The school is designed to serve speakers of other languages and English speakers in the same classroom. The students are purposely mixed in the same educational environment to provide communicative and academic language development through an interactive and cross-cultural setting. Participation begins in Kindergarten and continues through fifth grade. Over the past 2 years, the Patrick Henry Foundation (run by parents of Patrick Henry School students) has funded a “Teacher Innovation Grant” and subsidized a fee-based after school program (“Beyond the Bell”) to supplement the regular curriculum. These programs have expanded the curriculum at the school to include over $40,000 in new technology and web-based curriculum in the classrooms, as well as provided hundreds of students with science, arts, and technology classes before and after school. The Foundation would like to expand on these successful pilots to make these programs and technology available to all students at the school for free, and to refine culturally appropriate techniques for delivering these learning experiences to English language and Spanish speaking students. The combination of the English Spanish Immersion with a STEM Curriculum creates an innovative learning environment which will develop the next generation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians and innovators. The SEMI program will be delivered to all students at the school. Each class will receive SEMI instruction on a grade-level basis. Students will receive coaching and technical assistance on how to conduct projects and experiments in the classroom setting. The program is unique in that is designed to dispel negative stereotypes about scientists (e.g., eccentric, isolated).

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

The SEMI program aims to provide 1) a bilingual learning environment for all students to learn STEM in a culturally relevant manner in English and Spanish; 2) train all teachers on best practices for teaching bilingual STEM material, 3) provide technology to enhance student learning and teaching practices; and 4) to provide the next generation of global thinkers by incorporating STEM in a culturally relevant atmosphere beginning in elementary school.

PHF will partner with CSULB to provide formal evaluation of the program.

  • Number of students participating in the program.
  • Student gains (i.e., science interest, non-stereotypical images of scientists).
  • Number of teachers trained on culturally-relevant STEM curriculum.
  • Student test scores before and after program participation.
  • Teacher and parent qualitative analysis of the program effectiveness.
  • SEMI Program Tool Kit (to be replicated at other schools).

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

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research