LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2021 Grants Challenge

Heal the Bay’s SEA Education Program (Science, Environment, and Action)

Idea by Heal the Bay

Heal the Bay wants to make LA the best place to LEARN! The SEA Education Program (Science, Environment, and Action): Promotes STEM proficiency. CHECK! Ensures access to a safe virtual classroom. CHECK! Inspires curiosity and respect for the ocean and marine life. CHECK! Addresses academic gaps exacerbated by economic inequalities. CHECK! Fosters equity among thousands of underserved Los Angeles-based students. CHECK! Now who’s ready to check out the cool hermit crabs at the Heal the Bay Aquarium?!


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

Central LA

East LA

South LA

South Bay

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

The Heal the Bay Aquarium, which is located underneath the Santa Monica Pier, traditionally hosts 100,000 visitors annually. Due to COVID-19, the Aquarium temporarily closed its doors to the public and suspended its traditional STEM education and field trip programs in March 2020. The SEA Education Program, which is a high-quality marine science education series now offered through a virtual format, was created last summer in part because of public health mandates issued by Los Angeles County and a commitment to serve as a no-cost educational resource for a vulnerable student and teacher population. To ensure continued impact, Heal the Bay will secure grant support and waive program access fees for underserved Los Angeles County-based youth, including students attending Title 1 schools - schools receiving federal funds to support low-income students – and members of youth-serving organizations (e.g., Boys & Girls Club).

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

The SEA Education Program seeks to improve science proficiency, foster equity, advance academic enrichment and enhance students’ social-emotional growth by ensuring: Virtual classes include structured lessons about the marine environment, stewardship, and “visits” to the Heal the Bay Aquarium and the beach environment just outside the facility’s doors; Los Angeles County-based students (3rd-5th grade) have access to the Program, regardless of income, through the support of foundations; Los Angeles County-based students have access to the Aquarium’s educational offerings via a user-friendly virtual platform that is conducive to learning and facilitates meaningful interaction; Program curriculum meets California State Science Standards and supports Next Generation Science Standards, Ocean Literacy Principles, and International Society for Technology in Education standards; Curriculum mitigates potential learning loss caused by COVID-19-related disruptions to education delivery; Teachers have access to resources that help integrate the experience into lesson plans; Students have an opportunity to participate in online exercises that promote scientific inquiry and inspire problem solving; Students have access to a safe learning environment that values curiosity and enthusiasm over “knowing the right answer”; Messaging reinforces students’ sense of purpose as important stewards of the ocean, future scientists, and the next generation of environmental leaders.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 6,000

Indirect Impact: 500

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Building on Heal the Bay’s successful track record of creating opportunities for lifelong learning, the SEA Education Program will improve science proficiency (STEM education) among some the region’s most vulnerable students in Los Angeles. Heal the Bay’s experience in the community education space has resulted in strong relationships with a broad network of partner schools, districts, educators, youth-serving organizations and aquaria. These relationships will ensure Heal the Bay has ongoing access to its target student and teacher populations, especially underserved youth. The Program is also scalable and will be adapted to include a hybrid delivery model once in-person instruction is deemed safe.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Impact will be measured in the following ways: The number of schools/educators/youth-serving organizations engaged via targeted outreach including direct email communication and listserv networks (80% of those reached will know about the program and its goals after the first year); The number of students enrolled in the SEA Education Program (50% of those contacted will successfully enroll in program within six months); Active student participation during SEA Education Program sessions (95% of participants will actively engage in the online session); Retention of students over a course of SEA Education Program sessions (90% of participants will actively engage in the online session over the multi-session course); Participating educators will indicate the content enhances classroom-based science lessons and STEM proficiency (100% of participants will be asked to provide feedback on curriculum and program delivery).

Which of the LEARN metrics will you impact?​

Proficiency in STEM

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE