Compton Unified will expand its robotics programs in its elementary and middle schools, as ten new FIRST® LEGO® League teams will be created in addition to four current teams the grant will also support. Additionally, the district will introduce FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. programs at four elementary schools. Six current FIRST® Tech Challenge teams at Compton Unified high schools will also benefit from the grant, and these students will play a pivotal role as district STEM ambassadors going forward. “Our goal is to get our students involved in STEM pathways as early as possible,” said Satra Zurita, Compton Unified School Board President. “Nearly 400 Compton students will benefit directly from this grant in the first year, and as they progress through FIRST® programs in the years ahead, we expect to see that number grow as our future FIRST® alumni begin to mentor new teams.”
FIRST launched its STEM Equity Community Innovation Grants program in 2016 to address equity, inclusion and diversity inequalities in STEM. Evaluation criteria include community need, demographics, increases in diversity; execution strength, track record of reaching targeted students and the value of the activities proposed. Grant Sponsors include Arconic Foundation, Qualcomm, Inc., Caterpillar, GM, GitHub, John Deere and New York City individuals, among others, and Compton Unified will receive resources and support from FIRST as it develops its programs.
“The 21st century labor market demands qualified STEM graduates, and we are committed to ensuring our graduates are on a level playing field to pursue STEM-related opportunities in college and beyond,” said Darin Brawley, Ed.D, Superintendent of Compton Unified School District. “This grant will enable us to provide greater access to the proven STEM programs that FIRST® offers for a wider audience of Compton students.”
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $50 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12;FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.firstinspires.org.