PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Energy Partners Fund Awards $119,000 in Grants for STEM Programs

EnergyPartners Fund Awards $119,000 in Grants for STEM Programs in Santa Barbara County

The EnergyPartners Fund, a committee advised fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation, awarded $119,000 in grants educational programs focusing on STEM. The grants were presented in early October at Presqu’ile Winery in Orcutt.

Grants from the fund support programs from simple to complex – all with the goal to foster learning and enthusiasm in STEM. While most of the grants went to elementary and secondary schools in Santa Barbara County, a few reached as far as Fillmore and Nipomo. EnergyPartners Fund representatives presented awards to teachers and administrators for equipment including interactive computer projectors, iPads, and air quality probes, as well as for programs to support math and robotics teams, teacher training, and curriculum development.

For the first time since its inception in 2008, the EnergyPartners Fund awarded two large grants that exemplify the benefit of community-based partnerships. The first of these grants went to support the Family Ultimate Science Exploration (FUSE) nights at UC Santa Barbara. This program supports underrepresented students and their families to gain familiarity with the practice of science, its importance in education, and its promise of exciting career options. At FUSE events, students and their families rotate in 30-minute sessions through three bilingual activities related to physics, chemistry, and biology. The activities are led by UCSB undergraduate and graduate students.

A second grant was jointly funded by the EnergyPartners Fund and Highland Santa Barbara Foundation, Inc. to support Reasoning Mind, a pilot program in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District. Reasoning Mind is an interactive, computer-based mathematics program designed to engage elementary students in the development of strong critical thinking, reasoning, and logic skills. The focus on deep conceptual understanding and computational fluency prepares students for success in higher level math courses. Implementation in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District began this fall and is expected to impact about 500 students.

Phil Alvarado, Santa Maria-Bonita School District superintendent, applauded the support of EnergyPartners and the willingness of teachers to embrace change. “Teachers are living in a sea of change with common core standards, a new assessment system, and technology that requires skillful users,” he said. “Since 2008, the EnergyPartners Fund has been key to our STEM efforts by supporting teachers and allowing them to experiment with learning while increasing student engagement. We look forward to our continued partnership with the EnergyPartners Fund – a model of what the corporate world and public education can be when collaboration is student-centered, teacher-empowered, and invested in the workforce of the future.”

To date, the EnergyPartners Fund has awarded more than $850,000 to local classrooms, schools, districts, and nonprofit organizations with a cumulative impact exceeding 50,000 students.
2014 Grantees:
Allan Hancock College: Event expenses for STEM Week of Discovery
 American Association of University Women, California Special Projects Fund: One scholarship for an 8th grade girl to attend camp at UC Santa Barbara
 Arroyo Grande High School: Materials for eight laboratory investigations in AP Biology
 Blochman Union School District: Interactive computer projector
 Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley: Professional development, materials, and competition travel
 Brandon Elementary School: Civil engineering curriculum units
 Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Foundation: FIRST Robotics Team
 Los Olivos School District: Paper circuits that light up as an art project
 Nipomo High School: VEX Robotics
 Ontiveros Elementary School: Engineering kits
 Orcutt Academy High School: FIRST Robotics Team
 Pioneer Valley High School: Air quality monitoring probes
 Peoples’ Self-Help Housing: Two computers and 30 calculators
 Providence, A Santa Barbara Christian School: Materials to support a new elective course
 Santa Barbara Community Academy: Trained teacher with Play-Well TEKnologies 
 Santa Barbara Unified School District: Supplies for six Science Olympics projects
 Santa Maria-Bonita Elementary School: Awards, calculators, pencils, and math test creator stipend for Math Superbowl
 Santa Maria-Bonita Junior High School: Awards, calculators, pencils, and math test creator stipend for Math Superbowl
 Santa Maria-Bonita School District: Reasoning Mind elementary math program
 Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum: Three iPads and stands
 University of California, Santa Barbara: Family Ultimate Science Exploration (FUSE) nights

Contact: Lynn Penkingcarn
Communications and Marketing Officer
Santa Barbara Foundation
(805) 880-9392

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