21 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by southbaysurfsessions
Patch Instagram photo by southbaysurfsessions

Honda Awards $75,000 to Peninsula Education Foundation for NEW Elementary Schools STEM/ Engineering Program

Honda Awards $75,000 to Peninsula Education Foundation for NEW Elementary Schools STEM/ Engineering Program Honda Awards $75,000 to Peninsula Education Foundation for NEW Elementary Schools STEM/ Engineering Program Honda Awards $75,000 to Peninsula Education Foundation for NEW Elementary Schools STEM/ Engineering Program
Learning to “think like an engineer” will be highly prized in the future economy, and students in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District will now get an earlier start.   A new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program will be rolled out to in elementary schools next school year thanks to a $75,000 grant from the American Honda Foundation secured by the Peninsula Education Foundation.   The new Elementary STEM program is a natural extension of the highly successful middle school STEM program, which the American Honda Foundation helped launch with $120,000 in previous grants.  STEM education at the elementary school level is essential for making engineering and technology programs accessible to a greater number of students, preparing them to continue on to the district’s middle school and high school STEM/ engineering program, which have become models of excellence.    

Fun, hands-on projects will engage students and develop aptitudes for applying math, science and technology to create innovative solutions.   The American Honda Foundation’s funding ensures that all ten elementary schools will have teacher training and nationally proven curriculum from Project Lead The Way, a non-profit curriculum development organization, along with the necessary supplies for a 4th and 5th grade STEM program.

 “We are very grateful to Honda for their support of this program.  It is good corporate citizens and valued community neighbors like Honda that make a difference for all our children.  Honda has always been an active participant in our local community and now they are helping to meet the need for engineers in the future economy too,” said Andrea Sala, executive director of the Peninsula Education Foundation.

 The goals of the new elementary STEM program include; increasing students’ ability to apply math and science concepts, increasing student readiness to participate in the district’s middle school STEM programs, and increasing the number of females and other non-traditional participators in engineering and technology classes is later grades.   The school district’s middle school STEM is seen as a model program for the depth and breadth of STEM classes offered as well as for the number of participants.  Both of the district’s high schools, Peninsula High and Palos Verdes High, offer sophisticated engineering programs (SMERT & PVIT) which have launched many graduates into some of the nation’s most prestigious universities’ engineering and technology programs.  The new elementary schools STEM program effectively feeds into the middle school program, and may eventually increase the number of female students and number of students overall participating in the high school programs. 

 “As a longtime supporter of PEF and the South Bay Community, we are glad to see this action taken by the American Honda Foundation,” said Steve Morikawa, assistant vice president, corporate community relations at American Honda Motor Co., Inc.  “This program will provide important opportunities in Science and Technology to the students of our community.”

Science, Technology, Engineering & Math education is at the heart of today’s high tech, high skill global economy, and elementary school is a critical point at which to ignite creativity and innovation within all students.  “We strongly believe beginning this program in elementary school increases students’ interest in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Deidre Manns, the foundations’ president of the Board of Trustees.

The Peninsula Education Foundation is charged this year with raising $3 million to fund key programs including elementary music and physical education, middle school and high school guidance counselors, and middle school and high school STEM/ engineering, and College & Career Center staff.  In addition, PEF’s grant to the district provides for $1.5 million for teacher positions across all school levels to maintain smaller class sizes than would be possible with state funding alone.

Sala explained, “State funding does not provide for programs like this, and we need everyone’s help more than ever to keep our schools on the cutting edge.   The American Honda Foundation and American Honda Motor Co are wonderful partners in this process.”

Parent and community donations to the Peninsula Education Foundation will provide for the remainder of the Elementary STEM program costs.  Donations can be made through PEF’s website at www.pvpef.org or by calling (310) 378-2278.

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