2022 Grants Challenge

The Discovery of Gap Recovery

Discovery Club PSP pilot program offers learning enrichment program courses for disadvantaged youth, who were further impacted by the COVID pandemic. Discovery Club PSP delivers STEAM enrichment programming through the use of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) to help close the educational achievement gap and make learning exciting and fun. Through our hybrid interface model, youth are engaged with activities in person and online that enrich learning, reduce learning loss and help to close the educational achievement gap.


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?

Central LA

East LA

South LA

West LA

South Bay

Antelope Valley

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?

The educational achievement gap for disadvantaged youth continues to widen. As a result of the COVID pandemic, youth were unable to engage in connected learning activities. The pandemic increased inequities and deepened the educational achievement gap. According to the Los Angeles Unified Distance Learning Update, 80% of students in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), live in poverty and are at a greater risk of experiencing learning deficits. Actual learning loss for Los Angeles County youth is difficult to report due to reporting limitations. LAUSD collected data on only 60% of students served by LAUSD during the 2020/2021 school year. This data highlights that one in three secondary students are performing below grade level. If not addressed, the educational achievement gap will continue and increase the number of undereducated adults who are able to secure good paying jobs thus perpetuating the cycle of poverty within the greater Los Angeles community.

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

The educational achievement gap creates a disadvantage for youth in achieving future success. The complexity of the achievement gap challenges experts, administrators and lawmakers. Schoolwork alone cannot solve the problem. Students impacted by the achievement gap are disengaged with limited access to educational resources. These students are left to hit academic markers of achievement on their own. Discovery Club PSP pilot program features five innovative courses to enrich the basic STEAM skills of middle school youth. The products will be used at five different locations that offer afterschool and summer programs. The pilot program includes Astronomy Adventure, CSI Experience, Graphic Design, RoboQuest, and Fun with Numbers. These technologically savvy activities offer a connective link to concepts taught in the classroom with a unique Discovery Club PSP hybrid interface. The interface is designed to engage youth who are unable to participate in person and continue the learning experience for in person participants at home. The goal is to keep students engaged in learning both in the classroom and enhanced through the interface. The program will cover common core standards, provide a step-by-step facilitator’s guide, conceptual knowledge checks, a built-in assessment and evaluation plan to measure progress. Site visits from Discovery Club PSP professionals will ensure program effectiveness. Courses have been tested and are recommended by youth, parents, and teachers.

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

Through the Discovery Club PSP pilot, youth will feel more confident with increased interest in learning. Youth will be empowered to pursue learning. At Discovery Club PSP, we support youth in personal accomplishment with the added excitement and engagement that supports long term learning. Agencies will have a partner with Discovery Club PSP through resources, quality programs, and engagement beyond the pilot program. The effect of the Discovery Club PSP programming is reduced summer learning loss and greater support of long-term learning. This will lead to an increase in self-efficacy, a reduction in the educational achievement gap, and assist in breaking the cycle of poverty. Inspiring youth to find motivation to fuel academic pursuits will lead to a greater desire to increase knowledge and support the belief that higher education is a viable option which can lead to better jobs and careers. Discovery Club PSP programming will empower the next generation of STEAM innovators.

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

Discovery Club PSP uses Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) to measure program success through assessment and evaluation. Youth are motivated and encouraged to share what they have learned. This approach is integral to program structure and affords an opportunity to better understand long term knowledge transfer. The program is structured yet informal to be less conspicuous and not replicate the school setting. Discovery Club PSP focuses on learning, the ability for the learner to use knowledge to stimulate their understanding. Discovery empowers the learner to uncover information in the world around them and awaken a desire to explore. The assessment and evaluation plan consists of three phases: pre-assessment - activities to assess knowledge and connect learning to program outcomes; assessment - observation and formative assessment at the end of each session; and summative - what has been learned, key outcomes realized, and learnings youth will take with them beyond the program.

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

Direct Impact: 30

Indirect Impact: 310