LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Math Clubs for Underserved Student STEM Advancement

B-RELYT will bring its Math Clubs to partner schools in overlooked communities, including field trips, contests, and coding lessons, supplemented by relatable interns and STEM professionals from the community. We will advance students' math skills using passionate leaders and established techniques, including by a MathMomentum app that trains, challenges, and tracks math skills progression. Underserved students will be able to aspire to fulfilling STEM careers, confidently equipped with solid math skills, industry knowledge, and mentors.


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

South LA

South Bay

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?

Most students in LA's underserved areas lack the math skills for a STEM career. Barely 17% of Black students and 22% of Hispanic students met or exceeded math standards on LAUSD'S overall 2022 California CAASPP scores. By 11th grade statewide, a mere 11% of Black students and 15% of Hispanic students met them. Educational bias and "who is good at math" stereotypes hinder progress; early aspirations die from limited exposure to professionals who look like them in aerospace, defense, software, biomed, and other LA industries. Elementary students lack math tools required for both daily life and school; math anxiety, low self-worth, and inability to envision STEM careers follow. Less than 1% of UCLA Engineering degrees go to Black grads; only 12% to Hispanic/Latinos. Immediate intervention is crucial for impacted, aspiring students who could be our future STEM leaders. B-RELYT's founders are experienced Black engineers from urban LA who personally grasp both challenges and remedies.

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

B-REYLT will bring its Math Clubs to schools, focusing on those with a high ratio of Black students. The project will involve staff, and techniques from B-RELYT's successful After School, Saturday School, and Summer Intensive programs. We will provide Math Clubs for 2 pathfinder and 2 additional schools. Each Club will be open to 20 students with STEM interest. Clubs will meet regularly, proctored by an experienced B-RELYT teacher and trained TAs/interns from the community. We will enrich elementary/middle school skills, including fractions, FOIL, and graphing methods, to break down math barriers using techniques developed specifically for these communities. We will enable high school students' early attack on trigonometry and calculus. Key learning will be enhanced by development, test and rollout of the MathMomentum app, aligned to train and track problem solving methods and skills being presented in club sessions. STEM career goals will be reinforced and supported through math practice, repetition, and progress tracking. Trained college students and volunteer professionals who have lived the students' background challenges and environments will lead key topics. Experiences will include environmental and math skills assessment, contests, financial education, field trips with working professionals, transportation to free Apple coding classes, and a mentor-led drone coding project. Invested will continue their advancement in B-RELYT's Summer Intensive program.

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

We will provide up to 200 students from underserved communities the math skills and confidence boost needed for a STEM career. This Math Club visibility of these students within their schools will then inspire others onto the path. Program interns, coders and volunteers will also advance as community STEM advocates. Through propagation of the program's MathMomentum app and invitation of Clubs into more schools, more students will accelerate their own STEM journeys. Within a few years we envision an increase in Los Angeles' students from underrepresented communities being recruited into college STEM majors. We see a future in these communities where young people are given opportunity to aspire to a fulfilling STEM career based on confidence in their math abilities. With local tech company mentors, sponsorship, scholarships and internships, we see an ecosystem where today's students become tomorrow's entrepreneurs, creating local companies that bring career and income equity home.

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

B-RELYT's current program includes virtual After School, Saturday School, and Summer Intensive programs. Participants are tracked for skills practiced, proficiency, and mastery, plus study hours, total problems solved and in-school math grades. Students report overall grades after each semester and are surveyed for academic and social confidence. Scores for Math show a 20% increase following Summer Intensive programs before Fall Semester after practicing an average of 200 Math problems. 88% of middle school students in Saturday School demonstrate full understanding of the binomial computation and two-axis graphing. 100% of students have completed their mentored coding projects and completed the basics of Financial Education. In Math classes, students report not just surviving but thriving; they also report that STEM knowledge and B-RELYT community participation provides a sense of reduced isolation. Overall grades show a correlated increase, with some advancing to straight A's.

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

Direct Impact: 220

Indirect Impact: 600