2022 Grants Challenge

Increasing and Diversifying STEAM Student Pool

Math is an important component of STEAM, and literacy is a part of every content area. In 2021, 80% of Black, Latino and economically disadvantaged students didn't meet math standards, and over 60% didn't meeting English standards. 70% of 5th, 6th and 8th graders and 65% of 4th, 7th and 11th graders didn't meet math standards. Equity demand, and our project will address the lack of math/literacy preparedness that prevents the majority of under-represented students from pursuing STEAM.


Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

Hesabu Circle, the Kiswahili word for mathematics, led by Dr. Kagba Suaray, Prof of Math & Statistics at CSULB

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?

County of Los Angeles

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

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

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

Region faces a future in which there are too few workers in STEM fields to meet demand, weakening our strength in STEM fields, and too few BIPOC students pursue careers in STEM disciplines, especially youngsters of color, resulting from a lack of preparation, confidence, resources, and supports. California has historically benefited from a disproportionately large share of STEM jobs. Many STEM jobs require some postsecondary education, and the state is currently producing too few graduates to meet projected demand. In the future, California may no longer be able to rely on the migration of skilled workers from other states and countries to help meet the demand. Experts have cited strategies to help the state meet future STEAM workforce needs: better preparation of students in math and science to increase college success and Increasing STEM achievement by underrepresented groups. Equity demands, and the focus of our project is to increase the number of boys of color in STEAM.

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

Enhancement of STEM programming to leverage our award-winning Robotics and Coding Programs and extensive network of STEM professionals. Selected by NFL/Rams to develop 10,000 sf "Legends Zone" on CSULB campus, outfitted with top-of-the-line equipment to deliver mass-media, audio engineering and sound mixing programming to help boys develop skills to pursue careers in tech, Esports, gaming and media. Fortifying math/literacy competency through contextually and culturally relevant exploration that transcends and encompasses traditional curriculum, including: Summer Academy Students will be pre-taught some of the upcoming year’s math to get ahead and build confidence. Academic Center Tutoring support available through the school year from math and peer teachers Student Cohorts Students grouped into designated sections to drive continued collaboration and a sense of belonging. Peer Teaching Junior/senior math scholars will be paid peer teachers, driving persistence and achievement. The Pride Curriculum Accomplishments of STEM professionals of color, reinforcing beliefs of high achievement and belonging. Advisory Councils Groups of students’ parents, school reps who'll meet regularly and serve as powerful advocates for students, training parents/providing updates, to know what to expect and can better support participants. Professional development TCP provides training for educators to rethink systems, structures and behaviors that suppress minority achievement.

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

STEAM develops the critical thinking process “tool” necessary for the 21st century workforce and important to solving the changing the complex problems facing LA County, including creativity, inquiry, observation, problem solving and discerning fact from opinion, so our success will help preserve informed populous. There will be pocketbook implications for the under-represented community if our work is successful, considering the fact that, on average, STEM occupations are higher paying than non-STEM occupations. By increasing STEAM achievement by underrepresented groups, in our case, boys of color, LA county will be better able to meet the counties' growing demand for workers skilled in STEAM fields, important as it has become more difficult for LA county businesses/organizations to rely on the migration of skills workers from other states and countries. LA county's innovation enterprise, global competitiveness and regional security will be enhanced if our work is successful.

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

BOSS translates the mindset and discipline of achievement in sports into the gamification and teamwork of STEM projects to build foundational skills needed for success in STEM through a unique, multi-disciplinary mentoring and leadership process with an academic focus on STEM in the context of an overall life-support system. Award-winning (MIT Global Appathon) coding team and across the board outperform 4 years running; 30% more boys taking Algebra as 8th graders; 20% more were high school ready as 8th graders; 20% more had gpa's above 2.5; 12% more had gpa's above 3.0 We've demonstrated the capacity to deliver culturally competent, high-quality, and cost-effective programming that also addresses social isolation and distance learning challenges. We'll analyze the data and report patterns and trends in program performance, including a longitudinal study of participant performance. Quantitative and qualitative data will be synthesized for the purpose of demonstrating impact.

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

Direct Impact: 300

Indirect Impact: 5,000

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

Partner team will work with staff (coaches, peer mentors and instructors) to ensure all students excel and are activated to prioritize lifting up their peers to their academic standard of excellence. Train coaches on best practices for STEM/math education; provide instruction in mathematics and facilitate learning communities; Design, deploy rigorous and culturally relevant mathematics centered STEM curriculum of low threshold, high ceiling project-based explorations aligned with Common Core and provide avenues for systematic practice of fundamentals in context; Create pre- and post-tests for each grade level and tailored yearend instructiol goals for students based on consultation with the participant, parents, and coach; Quantitative and qualitative alysis of data to document impact