Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) Education in San Diego and Israel

STEM education is an interdisciplinary and applied approach that bridges science, technology, engineering and mathematics with real-world, problem-based learning. STEM education removes barriers between the four disciplines it comprises by integrating them into one cohesive teaching and learning paradigm. Such an interdisciplinary approach is necessary to prepare students, as new innovations and inventions tend to be made at the intersections of these four disciplines. Read more on the topic in this white paper prepared for the Jewish Community Foundation and click ‘more’ below to find out about granting opportunities in San Diego and Israel. In addition, find an overview of how the US and Israel rank with science and math test scores from Gerald Solomon, Executive Director of the Samueli Foundation.

Broadcom MASTERS
Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) is the national science, technology, engineering, and math competition for U.S. 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. It is a program of the organization Society for Science & the Public, and inspires and encourages the nation’s young scientists, engineers and innovators. Nominees enter the competition by completing an application explaining their science project and demonstrating their use of STEM principles in the development and presentation of their project. Competition finalists showcase their projects for the public and compete as teams in hands-on STEM activities.

CONNECT’s STEM program, Entrepreneurs for Young Innovators, inspires middle and high school students to pursue careers in life sciences and technology by introducing them to local entrepreneurs with exciting technology products. Local CEOs visit classrooms to tell their stories, describe their companies, demonstrate the products they are creating and explain how STEM classes can help prepare for college and rewarding careers in technology.
The CONNECT summer internship program inspires high school students to work in the field of computer science and programming. Interns are matched with a host company for a 6 week-long internship and present a summary of their work experience to the CONNECT community.
CONNECT reached 2,500 students by the end of the 2012-13 school year. Since 2010 (inception of the program), CONNECT has visited 30 schools and organizations and has reached 6,200+ students.

Elementary Institute of Science
Housed in a 15,000 square foot facility in South San Diego, the Elementary Institute of Science (EIS) is a science enrichment program dedicated to nurturing the intellectual curiosity of San Diego’s children by providing hands-on experiences to stimulate an ongoing appreciation and understanding of science, technology and the environment. EIS classes take place in a lab setting with no more than 10 students working with an instructor. Labs focus on the areas of chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, health, natural science, photography and technology.

Math for America San Diego
Math for America San Diego (MƒA SD) supports highly trained, exemplary math teachers who are dedicated to improving mathematics achievement in secondary schools throughout San Diego County. Founded in 2008 by a consortium of educators concerned about the quality of local mathematics education, MƒA SD seeks to attract, train and retain new and experienced teachers who are committed to helping their students understand and appreciate mathematics.
MƒA SD’s five-year fellowship is designed to:
• improve the retention rate of math teachers in high-need and urban secondary schools,
• expand teacher content knowledge and improve instructional skills, and
• increase student desire and ability to understand mathematics.
To date, MƒA SD has 43 fellowship recipients teaching in 33 schools in 10 districts throughout the region. The program is the recipient of two National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teaching Scholarship Program awards and is supported by local private funding.
MƒA SD is a consortium of three partner universities – California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), San Diego State University (SDSU) and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) – and five local school districts – Escondido Union High School District, Grossmont Union High School District, Oceanside Unified High School District, San Diego Unified School District and Vista Unified School District.

Ocean Discovery Institute
For the past decade, Ocean Discovery Institute (ODI) has been empowering urban and diverse young people to protect our ocean and natural environment, improve the health of our communities, and strengthen our quality of life. ODI is the only nonprofit in the San Diego region expressly dedicated to educating urban and diverse youth through ocean science.
All of the primary concepts in science and conservation can be taught through ocean science. Using the ocean, an extraordinary educational resource intrinsic to San Diego, as an educational tool capitalizes on young people’s instinctive attraction to the sea and builds knowledge of our planet’s defining feature.
ODI’s initiatives combine education, scientific research, and environmental stewardship. Currently these tuition-free initiatives reach 5,000+ low-income students each year, including school-based programs and a series of interconnected after-school and summer programs and support services for middle school, high school and college age youth. To ensure continued effectiveness, a professional external evaluator conducts regular program assessments.

San Diego Science Alliance
San Diego Science Alliance (SDSA) strives to improve K-12 science education in San Diego County, delivering quality experiential programs, building bridges between the region’s diverse business, education and scientific research communities, and fostering public/private partnerships to increase science literacy. It reaches 30,000 K-12 students annually in every school district in San Diego County. SDSA delivers innovative and engaging science programs, such as a High Tech Fair and Robotics Education, responsive to the interests and needs of K-12 students, teachers and community partners.
BE WiSE, a program of the SDSA, invites girls in seventh and eighth grades to Science Overnights at local science institutions to explore their interests in science, hosts events for BE WiSE alumnae in high school to encourage their selection of more courses in science and math, and exposes these girls to adult women scientists who share their knowledge about, passion for, and experiences with science and engineering careers. Events are scheduled throughout the academic year and during the summer, when more intensive experiences are offered.

SciTech, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
The Fleet Science Center aspires to inspire and educate students and teachers through a hands-on approach to science education that will feed and maintain a steady pipeline of STEM-capable graduates and life-long science learners.
The Fleet Science Center’s SciTech program:
• Is an after-school outreach program for girls in fourth through twelfth grades.
• Focuses on underserved girls in San Diego-area schools.
• Uses project-based classes that help girls to make concrete connections to everyday life as they develop creative thinking and problem solving skills.
• Adheres to a project-based format, with every four to six sessions focusing on a different scientific project or challenge. This format has proven successful because it allows for the integration of science with other subject areas.
• Classes are taught by the Fleet’s science education staff, with input and collaboration from classroom teachers at each of the eight school sites.
• Integrates girls at the middle and high school levels as mentors for younger girls.
• Expects that girls show increased knowledge of basic science and technology concepts, improved science self-concepts and attitudes, and expanded awareness of STEM-related career opportunities.

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
UCSD’s CREATE STEM Success encompasses its STEM outreach programs and is focused on improving and networking UCSD’s resources for the K-20 STEM education pipeline in San Diego. This initiative facilitates their integration, improvement, and collective impact.
Among the many STEM outreach services are the following:
• Jacobs School of Engineering: The Center for Inclusion, Diversity, Excellence, and Advancement (IDEA Student Center) at the Jacobs School of Engineering is committed to fostering a supportive environment for diverse engineering students as well as increasing K-14 student knowledge and awareness of engineering.
• Division of Physical Sciences: The California Teach program provides a deeper, richer understanding of mathematics and science, while enhancing the ability to effectively communicate mathematical and scientific ideas to others.
• Qualcomm Institute: The myLab Program combines engineering, art and technology with hands-on experience to inspire passion in engineering. myLab Program partners with university colleagues to provide undergraduate workshops, internships, and K-12 outreach.
• The UC San Diego Academic Connections pre-college program connects high-achieving high school students with college subject matter courses led by graduate students in a wide array of academic disciplines, renowned UCSD faculty researchers and experts in the fields.
• The Preuss School Science Enrichment Program offers activities that will inspire interest and engagement in science as a field of study and as a career for Preuss students. It focuses on three projects: 1) Biotechnology Labs, 2) Science Fair Tutorial and 3) Girls in Science.

San Diego Jewish Academy
The San Diego Jewish Academy (SDJA) Science Department aims to create lifelong learners of science who are inspired to question and understand the world. Middle and high school students are guided on an adventure through hands-on laboratory activities, group interactions, lectures, and on-campus visitations by specialists in their fields. STEM students grow in confidence as they pursue their own ideas and interact within the scientific community. Students apply creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship to their projects.
In the high school’s two- to three-year STEM program, self-driven students work as individuals or teams on STEM research and development projects. Students may develop projects onsite at SDJA or elsewhere in San Diego with the guidance of external mentors.
Students compete at high-level county, state, country and international STEM competitions. Through this award-winning program, three winners placed in the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair, which is considered the top high school science fair in the world, and one placed first in the 2012 Google Science Fair.

Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School
Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School is the latest school to join the ranks of prestigious private schools to adopt Singapore’s national math curriculum. Students understand the concepts and make connections between the numbers and learn how to do mental calculations. The program uses visual elements such as model-drawings and picture-based problem solving and moves quickly from pictorial illustration to abstract concepts. The children are encouraged to learn through discovery and to use a variety of manipulatives that enhance concept development. They will develop understanding and insight into the patterns of mathematics through use of concrete materials, learning through discovery and an environment of positive reinforcement. They are taught to see the relationships and interconnections of mathematical ideas and concepts.
Standardized tests show that Soille is graduating young men and women who demonstrate achievement in line with students in the finest schools in America.

Ahed — The Association of Academics for the Development of Arab Society in The Negev
The Ahed is an organization of local Negev Bedouin academics, public servants and university graduates dedicated to advancing the Negev Bedouin community. The school aims to enable its students to participate in the broad high tech era as fully achieving equals and to move toward being fully participating members of Israeli society and the global economic future. It is believed that the creation of this school is the single most important action that can be done to raise the overall level in the Negev Bedouin community.
Ahed aims to cultivate excellence and rigor combined with leadership development, social awareness and civic responsibility, while the objective of this endeavor is to enable acceptance of Bedouin students to the exact and bio-sciences faculties of leading Israeli universities.

Bloomfield Science Museum, Jerusalem
The Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem is an informal cultural and educational institution that presents exhibitions consisting of interactive exhibits on subjects of science and technology, and integrates these exhibits into a context through a wide range of educational activities.
The goals of the museum are to increase interest among the general public in science and technology in the world around us, to promote excellence in sciences among youth, and to present science and technology as an integral part of human culture. It hosts a Young Science Contest and a Science Café, a way for children to explore science in a format less rigid than the classroom-and-desks environment.

Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education
Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) programs help students master scientific language and concepts, tackling real-world problems in science and engineering through inquiry-based learning and hands-on projects. Initiatives include Science Labs for hands-on learning, math tournaments and virtual competitions, engineering-related study, career preparation and Teacher Training and Professional Development for teachers to ensure maximum impact of STEM education.

Center for Educational Technology
In its 40 years of activity, Center for Educational Technology (CET) has invested significant resources in carrying out its social mission, and has established its expertise and reputation in the education system in Israel. Main areas of activities are: development of state-of-the-art textbooks and digital content, establishment of rich websites using top-of-the-line technologies, paving new ways in professional development for educational staff and creating online environments and tools for assessment & evaluation. CET adapts products, services and programs to the needs of every population segment: Israeli-born and immigrant students, students from metropolitan and peripheral communities, Hebrew speakers and Arabic speakers alike – taking into account the needs and values unique to each community.

Friends of Ofanim
Ofanim converts buses into mobile classrooms and introduces at-risk youth to the highest quality instructors and after-school enrichment programs in computers, science, math, English, and two new robotics programs co-sponsored by the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in the North and Ben Gurion University in the South. Founded by Israeli social and business entrepreneur Haim Dahan, Ofanim’s inspiring vision is to empower the next generation of Israeli leaders, scientists and entrepreneurs.

World ORT
In 2007, World ORT embarked on a cutting-edge program, Science Journey – Kadima Mada, to redefine science and technology education in Israel, specifically in the periphery. Established in partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Education, this multi-faceted program combines state-of-the art, interactive classrooms and progressive science and technology learning with critical investment in advanced teacher training.

Today, Kadima Mada is active in over 165 schools, has trained and assisted some 3,300 teachers and serves over 100,000 pupils in under resourced areas. World ORT provides support for smart classrooms, science and technology centers throughout Israel and mobile science exhibitions.