July 23, 2020  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

–Grant will expand the STEM Program and provide funds for equipment and curriculum expansion

at Catholic schools in low-income communities–

In recognition of the success of theArchdiocese’s initial STEM programproviding high-quality STEM education for students in under-resourced communities, the  STEM Network of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has been awarded a $200,000 grant by the W.M. Keck Foundation.This will allow for the expansion of the STEM program in low-income communities and support current STEM schools.  Funding will be used for equipment, curriculum and professional development for teachers and STEM leaders.

“I am grateful to the W.M. Keck Foundation for this generous gift that will support STEM education in our low-income Catholic schools,” said Archbishop José H. Gomez. “The Foundation’s commitment to encouraging a love for science among our young people will make a lasting difference in their lives and in the future of our community.”

Thanks to the W.M. Keck Foundation grant, the STEM Network is projected to expand its program currently at five Catholic schools into two additional schools with approximately 1,000 students through the 2021-2022 academic year. One of the many benefits of the STEM Network is that the impact goes beyond the students by bringing teachers, administrators, parishes, families and communities into STEM methodologies, learnings, innovation and creativity.

The schools included in the STEM Network Implementation 2019-2022 are: Divine Saviour, Holy Spirit STEM Academy, St. Turibius, Immaculate Conception STEM Academy, San Gabriel Mission K-8, and two more to be announced.

“The STEM Network is so incredibly honored and blessed to have been chosen as the recipient of the Southern California Grant from the Keck Foundation in that it allows us to further expand our systematic approach to STEM education to more students in the ADLA,” said Leslie De Leonardis, STEM Network Director (TK-12th grade). “In doing so, this grant also propels us to continue to address not only achievement gaps related to math and science learning, but also opportunity gaps students may experience in accessing hands-on, rigorous STEM education.”

With this grant, the STEM Network will continue to implement high-quality STEM education and methodologies in elementary schools in support of Archdiocese of Los Angeles and United States Government STEM strategies and goals with an emphasis on low-income students and underrepresented groups benefitting from high-quality STEM education.

The program works toward the development of student capability in support of the three goals of K-12 STEM education in the United States:

    • 1) Expand the number of students who ultimately pursue advanced degrees and careers in STEM fields and broaden the participation of women and minorities in those fields,
    • 2) Expand the STEM-capable workforce and broaden the participation of women and minorities in that workforce, and
    • 3) Increase STEM literacy for all students, including those who do not pursue STEM-related careers or additional study in the STEM disciplines.

During these difficult times, the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles have shown their resiliency and innovation. Just within 72-hours of announcing school closures due to COVID-19, all 265 schools successfully implemented distance learning. Holy Spirit STEM Academy stands as an example of the ingenuity and drive for excellence in education. The principal of the school, Claudia Garcia, led her team to embrace change and within days of the school’s closure transitioned Holy Spirit into an Online Remote Learning Academy. A Holy Spirit family that had moved to Florida caught wind of this change and due to their disappointment with local options, enrolled in the school’s new online academy.

“We are grateful to our Catholic school educators and staff for always delivering for our students, despite unprecedented challenges,” said Paul Escala, Senior Director and Superintendent of Catholic Schools.“Our Catholic Schools are poised to fully integrate STEM programs in accordance with the goals to serve low-income and under-represented communities. We are grateful for the W.M. Keck Foundation’s recognition of the success of our STEM Network and look forward to utilizing their generous grant to expand the network to provide a high-quality STEM education to even more students in our communities.”

In addition to W.M. Keck Foundation Grant, the STEM Network has been awarded grants from the following foundations: Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Shea Family Charities and Specialty Family Foundation.

For more information on the STEM Network of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, visit:https://www.stemschoolsla.org/our-schools.html


About the W. M. Keck Foundation
The W.M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 in Los Angeles by William Myron Keck, founder of The Superior Oil Company.  One of the nation’s largest philanthropic organizations, the W. M. Keck Foundation supports outstanding science, engineering and medical research. The Foundation also maintains a program in Southern California that focuses on arts and culture, pre-collegiate education, health, and community service projects and programs. The Foundation’s support for organizations providing these types of projects enhances the lives of the region’s residents and has expanded and deepened over the years. Programming for children, youth, and their families is funded with the goal of providing safe, healthy, and enriching environments that prepare children to succeed in school and in life.

About the Archdiocese of Los Angeles

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the largest Catholic Archdiocese in the United States with approximatelyfive million Catholics, 287 parishes and 265 schools, serving the three counties of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara. For the latest news,events and to subscribe for mediaalerts visit media.la-archdiocese.org.Follow us on social media using @LACatholics on Facebook,Instagram and Twitter.