Torrance Unified is committed to excellence in STEM education. For more than twenty years – long before “STEM” became the common term we know today – our district has been at the forefront of innovation, bringing advanced learning techniques in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to Torrance students. Torrance Education Foundation programs supporting STEM disciplines are a high priority.
Why STEM Matters
Success in school for Torrance students is becoming ever more dependent on building aptitude within STEM disciplines. A student’s school experience with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math coursework has proven to be an increasingly significant indicator for overall college and postsecondary readiness.
STEM education represents all sectors of the technological workforce – from knowledge workers to educators, scientists, engineers, healthcare workers and technicians. Today, student achievement in STEM disciplines is among the strongest predictors of success in college.
Just as importantly, students with well-honed skills in STEM disciplines are in high demand within the job market, offering graduates some of the best and most well-paying employment opportunities.
TEF is committed to ensuring that students in the Torrance Unified School District have every opportunity to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics through inspiring, interactive activities that incorporate classroom instruction with independent, hands-on experimentation.
STEM Initiative Grants
In 2014, TEF launched its STEM Initiative to assist teachers in providing exciting, engaging opportunities for students of all ages to explore these subjects and develop their proficiency and capability.
STEM Initiative Grants provide funds to support the following eight targeted programs that build curiosity, develop STEM knowledge and skills, involve parents, and encourage both individual and team endeavor:
- After-school Engineering Clubs
- CyberPatriots Coding Club
- Hour of Code
- Math Counts
- Community- and Family-based STEM nights
- Robotics, incorporating TorBots
- Science Olympiad
- Stellar Explorers
In 2017, sixty-five TUSD teachers received grants totaling $50,000 for qualifying STEM Initiative projects that took place during the 2017-2018 academic year. Since 2014, TEF has underwritten 168 projects and awarded $136,000 in STEM Initiative grants.
Elementary Science Laboratories
Seventeen new state-of-the-art Science Laboratory Classrooms will be constructed on TUSD Elementary campuses by 2019. While construction costs are part of Torrance Education Bond Measure T, bond funding does not encompass laboratory tools, equipment or supplies, or provide for teacher training.
Torrance Education Foundation, in partnership with our business and donor community, has raised and supplied $370,000 for Phases I and II of the project to outfit eight new classrooms with all the age-appropriate tools, devices and materials needed, and funding to support teacher orientation and training.
Phase III requires $320,000 in additional funding – $40,000 per laboratory classroom – which will underwrite the equipment, tools, supplies and other ancillary costs for the remaining eight elementary schools.
Our students will benefit from the dynamic inquiry and discovery that can only be experienced in a hands-on, exploratory learning environment. As TUSD adopts and implements Next Generation Science Standards in elementary classrooms, TEF is there alongside them to provide support for these exciting new innovations.