National Teacher Appreciation Week: Investing in STEM

If our region is going to thrive in a global economy where technical and scientific minds are in high demand, then our teachers need all the help they can get to guide and inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

That's why we are taking steps to invest in our local educators, schools, and youth. 

This week, during National Teacher Appreciation Week, we are proud to announce that we have provided more than $70,000 for 186 projects in 97 local schools. This includes supporting nearly 150 teachers and 11,000 students as they engage in STEM projects.

The funding came as a result of a new charitable initiative that we announced last month to match funds donated to STEM classroom projects created by local teachers on DonorsChoose.org.

In a short period of time, this program has already made a difference in local classrooms from San Ysidro to Lakeside to Escondido.

Coders, Creators & Designers

Imagine a classroom where young students write their own codes to control robots. That’s exactly what third-through-fifth graders will be doing at George Nicoloff Elementary School in San Ysidro, where fourth-grade teacher Nancy Sandoval requested tablets and Sphero robots to teach students basic concepts of programming, robotics and math.

“There’s no rule that says that learning can’t be fun, or that playing can’t be valuable,” said Ms. Sandoval. “Spheros make the skills of the future approachable and practical. And most importantly, fun. These robots will inspire a love of technology, coding, and STEM principles all through play.”

Through the recently funded project, students will use an online program that allows them to use visual blocks, representing code, to give their robot orders. They will then immediately see the connection between the program they created and how the robot works and reacts, making technology approachable and practical.

Green Energy Stimulating Student Interest

Renewable energy is the way of the future, and students at Tierra Del Sol Middle School in Lakeside are learning how solar, wind and other alternative energy sources are impacting the environment through hands-on activities.

With new energy conversion kits and video labs funded through DonorsChoose.org, students will be able to design and build their own solar devices and wind turbines, taking their education to a whole new level.

“We want them asking questions about their impact on the environment and finding actionable solutions they can apply to solve global environmental issues,” said Dahlia Rinck, eighth-grade teacher at the school. “Allowing them a global understanding will better open opportunities to themselves and their community.”

Building Engineers with LEGOS

Third graders at Rose Elementary School in Escondido are diving into the world of machines using LEGO sets that will allow them to build levers, pulleys, axles and wheels while meeting STEM standards.

Students will work together to plan, problem solve and communicate to execute their projects.

“I want to give my students every opportunity to succeed in a STEM-driven world, and learning materials, such as the ones I've requested, will not only provide them the necessary skills, but will also help enrich a passion for math and science,” said Cara McKenna, third-grade teacher at the school. “I am so grateful to the donors who believed in this project and the support of my students! The Simple Machine LEGO Sets have helped them investigate forces and interactions tremendously.”

Invest in STEM

Through the DonorsChoose.org program, SDG&E will match donations to eligible projects and will provide a $2 to $1 match for schools in select disadvantaged communities.

To make a donation, visit www.DonorsChoose.org/SDGE

Click here to read more about the projects funded through DonorsChoose.org.