A big thank you to all those that helped support RIOT's November Teacher Grant! The 4th grade students at KIPP Raices Academy had a great time at UCLA's "I'm Going to College" fair where they learned about the college life and the application process! They were also able to witness the Bruins defeat the University of Colorado! Below is a video that we hope brings a smile to your face because your generosity certainly brought one to these kids' faces!
A million thanks to all those who purchased a teacher grant shirt in May and helped send these awesome 1st graders from Sandra Cisneros Elementary School to the Aquarium of the Pacific! We were able to raise over $200 which helped pay for 28 students' admission fees! As you can tell from the pictures, the students had an AMAZING time and are extremely grateful for all your generosity!
Title: “Rise Above”
Location: Sandra Cisneros Learning Academy (Camino Nuevo Charter Academy), Echo Park, Los Angeles CA
Demographics: 88% Latino, 12% multiple ethnicities, 94% Socioeconomically Disadvantaged, 100% of students receive free and reduced breakfast and lunch, 60% English Language Learners
Students Age group: 6-7 years old
How many students will benefit from the Project: 27+
Project Description: The first grade students at Sandra Cisneros Learning Academy have been investigating and experimenting with ecosystems this year during science instruction. Students have conducted inquiry-based experiments such as constructing terrariums and aquariums to understand the complexity of the interconnectivity of organisms in an ecosystem. As a culminating lesson students will be visiting the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific to observe various marine ecosystems and the fascinating creatures that inhabit them. Ms. Mendoza has been fundraising throughout the entire year and has raised enough money to pay for the buses for the trip. The area of assistance that students at Sandra Cisneros Learning Academy need is funding to pay the admission fees for the aquarium ($7.50 per student). While the fees may seem minimal, the cost of admission could be a significant financial barrier to students that are socioeconomically disadvantaged (94% of the student population). To support students’ science learning opportunities the RIOT team will donate funds from this month’s teacher grant shirt “Rise Above” to cover the cost of admission for as many students as possible.
Benefit for Students: By taking the students to the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific the students will be provided with experiential and kinesthetic learning opportunities that support first grade science standards as well as fostering moments of scientific intrigue. This learning opportunity is a culminating activity to an ecosystem unit. Additionally, many of the students have never been to a museum or an aquarium, and these real life-learning experiences will leave a long-lasting impact on the students’ affinities towards science.
Science Standards covered on the field lesson include:
1.2.a. Students know different plants and animals inhabit different kinds of environments and have external features that help them thrive in different kinds of places.
1.2.c. Students know animals eat plants or other animals for food and may also use plants or even other animals for shelter and nesting.
RIOT Funding: We will be providing a minimum of $200.00 to help fund the cost of admission for at least 27 students.
Inspiration Behind Design: Scientific thinking is crucial for youth because this skill is founded in critical analysis, a tool necessary to identify oppression and cause change. This critical skill set needs to be reinforced in students constantly, and science classes are a perfect space to accomplish this. Many students in Los Angeles' lower socioeconomic communities are underperforming in science, and the RIOT team believes this underperformance is cause by a lack of resources and inspirational learning experiences. In Los Angeles Unified School District, around 30% of 5th grade socioeconomically disadvantaged students performed at proficient level on the Life Science 2011-2012 STAR test. Even worse was was the performance of 8th and 10th grade students with less than 20% scoring proficient (www.cde.ca.gov). Sadly, a similar trend is seen with English Language Learners in Los Angeles. Less than 20% of 5th grade ELL students scored proficient or advanced in the STAR test for Life Science, and again this performance data showed a decrease to less than 10% of these students in 10th grade scoring proficient or advanced (www.cde.ca.gov). These dismal numbers were the creative spark for this month's "Rise Above" design.
From both socioeconomic and language proficiency level perspectives, students at Sandra Cisneros Learning Academy will face multiple barriers to achieving in science. The RIOT team believes that given the right moments of inspiration and the necessary resources, like a stimulating field trip and laboratory experiences, students can be empowered to collectively soar above barriers preventing them from achieving. An additional benefit of supporting science courses for students in underperforming communities is the development of the critical lenses needed to recognize inequity and move beyond the impediments to success. We have represented this concept with a school of flying fish rising above and excelling past any obstacles in their path. Help us give these 1st grade students the skills, resources, lenses, and motivation needed to take flight above the social structures in their way.
Want to know more about April's Teacher Grant? Check out this video!
Title: Grounded in Technology
Location: KIPP Raices Academy, East Los Angeles, CA
Demographics: 98% Latino, 1% African-American, 1% Other, 91% Socioeconomically Disadvantaged
Project Description: Mr. Echeverria’s third grade class was fortunate enough to be granted a class set of new Google Chromebooks. This has allowed them to incorporate Common Core collaborative learning, utilize new software, and learn vital technology skills that students need to be successful in the 21st century. The current challenge Mr. Echeverria faces with these powerful learning tools is keeping them charged and secure. Currently, the laptops are placed in an unlocked cabinet with one power strip charging a few at a time. In order to fix this, RIOT will assist in purchasing a laptop cart to ensure that no instructional time is lost due to a dead laptop battery. Additionally, this project will protect the equipment so that future students in Mr. Echeverria's class can also have opportunities to build 21st century learning skills.
RIOT Funding: We will be providing a minimum of $300.00 to help fund the cost of purchasing the laptop cart.
Inspiration Behind Design: We are living in an age where technology is all around us. It's ubiquitous nature has shifted concerns of digital inequality from access to use. For years now, researchers have argued that beyond differences in access to information and communication technologies, differential uses also have the potential to contribute to social inequality. As such, many studies have found that children from higher socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to experience educational gains from home computer and Internet use than others.
The design, "Grounded in Technology" depicts a tree with a variety of technology icons. The tree's roots, composed of computer cables, dig deep into the earth's soil to establish a strong foundation for the tree to grow upon. The purpose of this grant is to establish a strong foundation of digital literacy skills so that students from low-income communities can meaningfully and effectively use technology in order to academically compete with their affluent peers.
From February 25th to March 25th the RIOT Team will be raising funds for the teacher grant described below. We will be periodically announcing our progress towards reaching our financial contribution goal on our website and on our facebook page, so please stay tuned for updates.
Title: Literacy for the Little Ones
Location: ICEF Vista Elementary Academy, Los Angeles, CA
Demographics: 1% White, 1% Asian, 2% Filipino, 11% African American, 80% Latino, 84% Free or Reduced Lunch Program.
Project Description: One of the greatest determinants of students’ success is their literacy level. 2/3 of students that do not read proficiently by fourth grade will end up on welfare or incarcerated. This month we are tackling this issue by partnering with Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF) Vista Elementary Academy’s Alma Nuñez. Ms. Nuñez is starting an after school book club for her 3rd-5th grade students to help them enhance their reading and writing skills. RIOT is going to support this project by using funds from our shirt sales to purchase culturally relevant and engaging books for the students that participate in the club. Help us get these children on the path to achievement, and inspire a love for reading by supporting this project.
RIOT Funding: We will be providing a minimum of $200.00 to fund the cost of purchasing reading materials for the book club.
Inspiration behind the design: The purpose of each design we produce is to generate dialogue and critical thinking about social inequities, leading to societal transformation. This month our featured design “Literacy for the Little Ones”, depicts images of a pen and a sword, with the quote “The pen is mightier than the sword”. The meaning behind theses images and quote is that through inspiring and supporting students in their acquisition of literacy they will in turn be able to use these literacy skills as a tool to navigate and change existing social structures. It is vital that we get young children on track to developing their literacy skills because 85% of juvenile offenders are functionally illiterate (www.begintoread.com). The ability to read and write critically are crucial skills that youth need in order to use knowledge as a means to “rebel intelligently”.
Students in Art Club at Simon Tech Academy, a high school located in Watts, were looking for funds to create a mural at their school that promoted school spirit and established a sense of community. After months of working together to create sketches that meet this goal, they were finally ready to put their design into action.
The club wanted to complete the mural over the 3 week holiday break so that when students returned they would be welcomed back with a new and improved school. After a few weeks of raising money to buy supplies, they were still needed more funds to execute the project the way they envisioned. That when RIOT got involved.
With the profits made from t-shirt sales in December, RIOT was able to purchase the remaining painting supplies for the club, along with lunch for the 5 days that it took to complete this project. A student in the club later sent us a thank you card that once again, centered us on our mission...
"I really appreciate your help with this project. When my friends returned to school they were like, 'wow, that is an awesome mural! It makes the school look a lot nicer!' I totally agree with them. I really enjoy coming to school now because when I do, the mural reminds me that anything is possible when you put your mind to it."
Check our pictures from this project here!
On Friday, December 9th, members of the RIOT team visited the Dance Team at Handy Elementary School to hand deliver 35 custom designed t-shirts. The students had no idea that their dance coach, Jenny Edminston, applied for, and was awarded a teacher grant that funded the purchase of the shirts.
The discipline and dedication that Jenny described her students to have in her grant application was apparent upon our arrival. Because the school did not have an auditorium, they conducted their rehearsal on the playground with dozens of kids playing and causing distractions. This environment did not detour these kids from learning the steps required to perform the dance routine. After only 30 minutes of watching them practice, it was clear that these students were quick learners and dedicated to making their performance the best holiday dance recital in Handy Elementary School history!
After a quick water break, Jenny introduced the RIOT team. We congratulated the dance team on all the hard work they've done and informed them of the grant that their coach was awarded. The team got excited and wanted to open the box to see the shirts they would be wearing during their performance. We asked for two volunteers to open the box and all hands went up followed by, "oh me! pick me!". Jenny chose two students who opened the box, pulled out a shirt, and showed it to their teammates. All the students smiled from ear to ear and were eager to try them on. Their excitement was contagious and we were happy and humbled to be a part of it.
Please check out the pictures! Their faces tell a better story than the previous words can describe.
We are educators, activists, and friends. We believe that all students should have access to an excellent education and our responsibility is to make sure they do.