Torrance Education Foundation Awards $39,500 in STEM Grants to Teachers

Posted on Oct 25, 2016

Grants will support 48 Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering Projects for K-12 students

Torrance, CA – Torrance Education Foundation (TEF) today announced it has awarded $39,500 in grants for STEM-related learning projects at Torrance Unified School District (TUSD) schools through its third annual round of STEM Initiative Grant Awards. Forty-eight projects in District elementary, middle and high schools will take place in the 2016-2017 Academic Year, involving an estimated 6,000 students.

Lead Teachers for each project will this week receive the grant awards through special access accounts at Torrance Unified School District (TUSD). Funds will be used to purchase materials and supplies for participatory projects focused on science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics, and for competition entry fees.

“Torrance Education Foundation has created a groundswell of excitement and enthusiasm with their STEM grants,” comments Torrance Unified Superintendent, Dr. George Mannon. “The District applauds the key role that the STEM Initiative Awards play in bringing interactive and hands-on extra-curricular learning opportunities to our students.”

The response from our teachers this year was tremendous. The 48 winning projects represent a 55% increase over the 31 awards granted in 2015.

Says TEF board president Kevin O’Brien, “Our teachers, students and families are actively engaged in 21st century learning, and they are doubling down on their experience and knowledge and building their competitive edge. We encourage our community to visit their neighborhood school for a Family STEM Night, or attend another STEM-related Club competition to witness firsthand how our students are preparing for their futures.”

About the STEM Initiative Grants

TEF created its STEM Initiative Grant Program in 2014 to encourage and enable teachers to offer K-12 TUSD students new and sustainable STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics) learning opportunities that promote collaboration among all schools. Application for TEF STEM Initiative Grants is open to all teachers in TUSD with an interest in promoting STEM subject learning.

In the 2016 round of applications, TEF expanded the number of qualifying target projects from five to seven. Teachers submitted applications for qualifying expenses to coordinate and execute one of the following eligible programs:

After School Engineering Club – targeting K-8 students, this club empowers youth to tackle real-world engineering problems using the engineering design process along with creativity, collaboration and mentorship using the “Engineering is Elementary” program protocol developed by the Museum of Science, Boston.

Family STEM Night – introduction to STEM subjects through interactive workshops, hands-on activities, and other challenges for students, parents, and teachers, held on campus at school.

Math Counts – a middle school club that incorporates team competition in geometry, combinatorics, counting, number theory, and algebra.

First LEGO League/Robotics – a club for students in grades 4-12 that incorporates team competition; students engage in a “Challenge” by programming a robot to score points on a themed playing field.

Science Olympiad – targeting both middle schools and high schools, this team competition give students the opportunity to compete in “events” pertaining to various scientific disciplines, including earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.

CyberPatriots – Students in Grades 6-8 and 9-12 train for the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. A partnership with the U.S. Air Force Association, CyberPatriots inspires students toward careers in cybersecurity, as well as other STEM disciplines critical to our nation’s future.

Hour of Code – School-wide coding events across Grades K through 12 target participation by all students in order to provide computer science education for every child, not just a lucky few.

About Torrance Education Foundation

Torrance Education Foundation (TEF) promotes and supports academic excellence for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students in the Torrance Unified School District. TEF recognizes outstanding teachers and education contributors; develops strategic alliances with business organizations, parents and the community; supports innovation and curiosity; nurtures student exploration and experimentation; and champions an inspirational, well-rounded education for all students served by the TUSD. Founded in 1992, TEF is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity. In partnership with Torrance Unified School District and the community, TEF gathers and channels financial support from Torrance citizens, businesses and area philanthropies to ensure that all students have access to the widest variety of exciting, cutting-edge, enriching educational and learning opportunities.

In the past five years, TEF has provided major funding totaling more than $2 million for student enrichment and achievement programs and important District priorities. In addition to the STEM Initiative Grant Awards, TEF in recent years has funded an array of needs, including equipping all school sites in the District with WiFi technology; building and equipping a computer learning laboratory at the TUSD District office for faculty, staff and others; fully underwriting teacher training in literacy, math, and science for elementary, middle and high school teachers, as well as underwriting the cost of placing substitute instructors in all classrooms during teachers’ absence. In partnership with local businesses and family sponsors, TEF annually provides college scholarships to graduates from all five District High Schools.

Since 2009, TEF has also administered the South Bay Enrichment Academy, which annually enrolls more than 2,000 Torrance area children an in a WASC-accredited summer school.

About Torrance Unified School District

Torrance Unified School District (TUSD), established in 1947 and unified in 1948, includes 17 elementary, 8 middle, and 4 high schools, 1 continuation school and 1 alternative high school. The District also has 3 adult school campuses and 1 pre-school for children with special needs.

TUSD is nestled in the South Bay, in the western part of Los Angeles County. TUSD is bordered by the Palos Verdes Peninsula on the south, cities of Redondo Beach and Gardena to the west and north, and the City of Carson on the East. The District encompasses all of the City of Torrance. The District’s jurisdiction includes approximately 21 square miles.