The Clairemont Mesa Education Foundation has already begun the initial process of bringing in partners from the community to work toward these goals. We have found that many in the community are ready and willing to assist us in this endeavor.
During the formation of the foundation we have focused on bringing in other organizations that understand the need for increasing a STEM focus for education. From the initial grant where the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center had received funding from Qualcomm to work in partnership with Area 4 to transform Whitman Elementary into a STEM focal school for Area 4 science teacher professional development, we began to partner with the center to further expand that original project and subsequently received an additional $20,000.00 funding from SDG&E to increase STEM programs at Innovations Middle School with an after school girls science programs to increase their exposure to the sciences. The remaining funds were used to cover expenses for a Science Night for the Madison High School cluster.
The foundation was invited to be represented at the San Diego County Office of Education Arts Initiative that includes arts and music professionals and companies and other county school districts as well as the San Diego Unified School District Visual and Performing Arts Department to build a county wide arts program. The final result was Arts Empower which includes the foundation as a steering committee member.
The foundation was also invited to represent public education and the community of Clairemont in the Public Advisory Group of the Workforce, Education and Training program with San Diego Gas & Electric with the goal of finding opportunities mentorship, jobs training and other programs to develop a better able workforce from the high schools in the community. This would also enable many students who would otherwise be unable to attend four year universities to have an opportunity for career positions, especially in a growing field. This will be continued with partnership and support of the College, Career and Technical Education Department at San Diego Unified School District. One of these partners, The Energy Coalition, has proposed extending the PEAK Program to additional schools in the community to enhance science education from the elementary to middle schools with funding for the programs to come from energy related partners. Several more opportunities have come forward to look at ways to increase energy savings, expand our students knowledge in conservation and truly teach the science of energy.
In conjunction with Project Wildlife – a local wildlife rehabilitation and conservation education organization – and the California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC) – a statewide network connecting teachers with environmental education opportunities – Clairemont Schools Foundation is putting together a curriculum team to draft an environmental education program specifically designed for our schools and community. This team will bring together local teachers, administrators, and representatives from environmentally-minded organizations to identify potential gaps in nature-based, environmental/conservation science curriculum in our public schools, and brainstorm ways each group may be able to contribute to a solution. The end-goal is the design and implementation of a pilot program that recognizes and is specifically targeted to the environmental concerns and needs of our community, and incorporates Next Generation Science Standards. Hopefully, this collaborative effort will not only uniquely benefit the students and community members of Clairemont, but also inspire and model opportunities for environmental education and conservation efforts across the County of San Diego.