2022 Grants Challenge

Impacting Students and Communities Through STEAM

We will expand ASAS-LA’s programming at Russell Westbrook Why Not? High School (WHS) in Bell, operated by LAPF by adding a 3-day per week STEAM component to the expanded learning program that aligns with the regular day science curriculum. Students will design and implement STEAM service learning projects to positively impact their community, gain critical foundational 21st Century skills and raise their awareness about STEAM careers.


Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

After-School All-Stars Los Angeles

What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

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

Other:: Southeast LA

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

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

LAPF and our partner After-School All-Stars Los Angeles (ASAS-LA) will increase students’ understanding of the connection between their science classroom learning and solutions to real-world problems. In the near-term, students will develop service learning projects that address STEM-related issues in the Southeast LA community, such as food justice projects to address the lack of healthy food options for families. Simultaneously, we will open students’ eyes to possible future STEM careers. STEM is a key driver of the CA economy, but the Black and Brown students that we serve are underrepresented in STEM fields. Latinx workers comprise 17% of the overall workforce but only 8% of the STEM workforce, with a similar level of underrepresentation across STEM fields. Black workers make up 11% of the workforce but only 9% of STEM jobs, with significant underrepresentation clustered in engineering (5%), life science (6%) and physical science (6%) (Pew Research Center, 2021).

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Funds will be used to expand ASAS-LA’s programming at Russell Westbrook Why Not? High School (WHS) in Bell, operated by LAPF. We will add a 3-day per week STEAM component to the after school program aligned with the regular day curriculum, helping to create an immersive experience for students. WHS has a Digital Media Arts (DMA) pathway and a schoolwide civic engagement curriculum called the Civic Action Project (CAP), offered through a partnership with Constitutional Rights Foundation. We will integrate these curricular elements into a 3-day per week STEAM after-school program with these key components: 1) ASAS-LA’s Life Service Action (LSA) program: Students will develop social responsibility and civic awareness through the design and execution of their own STEAM-focused community service projects. ASAS-LA staff will work with a regular day science teacher to develop a year-long STEAM service learning curriculum that allows students to apply what they are learning in their science classes to service learning projects that they design. 2) DMA training: Students will learn additional DMA skills as they work with ASAS-LA staff to create final project presentations. 3) Career Awareness: Students will go on field trips to local STEAM organizations to learn more about how the skills they are developing through their STEAM service learning projects align with potential STEAM careers.

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

Over the short-term, the underserved Southeast LA area will be directly impacted by the students’ STEAM service learning projects. We cannot provide project specifics since students will determine their project focuses, but have found that environmental justice and food justice resonate with students so we anticipate projects related to those issues. Students will team up to develop projects; with an average of 4 team members there will be 10 projects. If each project touches an average of 100 community members, over the grant period 1,000 LA County residents will be positively impacted. Students will deepen understanding of how science learning connects to being a community change agent while gaining valuable foundational skills that enhance their career readiness and gaining insights into STEAM career pathways. Our longer-term goal is to contribute to diversifying the STEAM pipeline by creating a cadre of civically engaged youth and sparking their interest in future STEAM careers.

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

Although LAPF and ASAS-LA have a long-standing partnership, the STEAM focus is new so there are no evaluation data to provide. Moving forward, our vision for success entails having students further develop foundational skills developed through CAP, by building intrapersonal, interpersonal and institutional skills that prepare them for STEAM careers and the work world overall. We will define and measure success through several key metrics tied to civic engagement, skill building and STEAM career awareness: On a student survey, at least 75% of students will report increases in: -understanding of unjust policies, practices or social norms that can be impacted through STEAM -critical thinking and problem solving skills -belief in their ability to effect change -ability to collaborate with other students and communicate effectively -sense of agency (CASEL SEL core competence: self-management) -awareness of STEAM career options -interest in pursuing a STEAM career

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

Direct Impact: 40

Indirect Impact: 1,000

Describe the specific role of the partner organization(s) in the project, program, or initiative.

LAPF: -Provide space for the afterschool program at the WHS Bell campus and allow ASAS-LA staff to access the school’s DMA equipment. -Work with ASAS-LA staff to recruit participants -Stipend a teacher to serve as project liaison and work with ASAS-LA staff to develop a -STEAM service learning curriculum that reinforces core science learning -Responsible for grant reporting and fiscal oversight ASAS-LA: -Recruit, hire and train program staff -Operate after school program 3 days per week -Work with LAPF teacher liaison to develop STEAM service learning curriculum -Maintain ongoing communication with teacher liaison to ensure alignment with regular day science classes -Collect data needed for evaluation and reporting