LA Enrichment Hub: A Digital Tool for Opening Educational Access
The LA STEM Collective, an intermediary organization bringing together out-of-school time learning providers, is collaborating with the Greater Los Angeles Foundation and other stakeholder partners to develop and launch The LA Enrichment Hub, a comprehensive digital portal and interactive map that will connect youth, families, teachers, districts and other members of the public to all of the out-of-school and expanded learning opportunities in LA County.
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?
Greater Los Angeles is rich in educational resources, including hundreds of opportunities for children and youth to learn out of school time (OST). While research has shown that these OST opportunities can significantly increase student learning and success, access to them is not always easy and equitable. Many students of color and children from low-income or marginalized communities are unable to access OST experiences. Low-income families are outspent as much as 10x by wealthy families on out-of-school enrichment. A recent study by the Afterschool Alliance showed that nearly 362,000 children in LA who would be enrolled in a program if one were available to them. Families often do not know where to turn to access OST resources or support. OST providers also are fragmented, without a centralized tool for families to access information and resources about OST opportunities in LA County.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
The LA STEM Collective, in collaboration with the Greater Los Angeles Foundation and other stakeholder organizations, is creating a comprehensive digital portal - with the working title of The LA Enrichment Hub - with the goal to better connect people to the many expanded learning and OST opportunities in Los Angeles County. The portal is more than a website; it is a multi-faceted tool that will evolve as the needs of its multiple distinct audiences change. When completed, the portal will target children and youth, adults and families, teachers and school administrators, and all members of the public, connecting them to the large variety OST opportunities, including STEM programs, museum and afterschool programs, camps, mental health programs, arts programming, sports programs, community-based organizations and non-profit programming. The portal will implement strategies to keep information up to date while efficiently connecting users through a variety of avenues, including location, content and cost categories, and connecting them to registration processes. The digital portal has two main components: a comprehensive, searchable database of all of the out-of-school time opportunities in Los Angeles County accessible online through web and mobile platforms, that presents information in as intuitively as possible to all audiences; and a highly interactive digital map that will allow the public to see OST opportunities around them or throughout the region.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Children spend most of their lives out of the classroom. LA County is rich in out-of-school time (OST), also know as expanded learning, opportunities that engage children afterschool, on weekends and during school breaks. The County does not, however, have a central repository of information to access all of these resources and opportunities, nor does it have a comprehensive understanding of the locations and scope of the OST community. Without a hub for accessing this information, families, teachers and schools rely on ad hoc methods to connect to OST resources, which could lead some to missing opportunities. The LA Enrichment Hub will give the County a focus of information about its OST community. The map feature will share the landscape of OST opportunities, better connecting the public to local resources and allowing policy makers to make informed decisions on resource allocation. The portal is one step to connecting all of LA County to the benefits of OST learning.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
The LA Enrichment Hub is in development, with a Phase 1 beta site currently online: https://la-stem-web-portal.web.app/ Phase 1 is focused on the school administrator community that can use the tool for planning next school year. This beta Phase will serve as a test-bed for usability for all the eventual target audiences, including youth, families and teachers. This phase will be successful is the intended school audience uses it, but more importantly, if the development team is able to learn valuable lessons to hone the final, Phase 2, portal. Looking toward the future, the LA Enrichment Hub is intended to improve access to OST opportunities to the children of LA County, especially those students of color or from communities traditionally underresourced or marginalized. An increase in enrollment in these opportunities will be the ultimate marker of the project's success. Consistent usage numbers also will point to its benefit.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 8,500
Indirect Impact: 350,000
Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.
The LA STEM Collective will take the lead on developing the portal, working closely with the other partners to develop the functionality of the site (how to search). LA STEM will also manage the contractor, Ripe Media, to ensure that the deliverables are met and the portal operates as intended. As the backbone agency, Wildwoods will manage all contracts, invoicing, and grants. The other partners (Greater LA Foundation, Annenberg Learner, GPSN, Expand LA, B-REYLT, MOCA, and Museum Educators of Southern California) will conduct focus groups and early adopter testing during the rollout of Phase I and Phase II to generate user feedback.