Mazda Foundation Grant Supports STEAM Education in California
Mazda announced this week that its Mazda Foundation has contributed $150,000 to to FUSE Studios, a high-quality and results-driven educational program developed through Northwestern University that aims to transform science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) learning in schools across America.
“Access to STEAM programming in elementary school helps level the playing field for students throughout their education and careers,” said Jeff Guyton, president of Mazda North American Operations and chairman of the Mazda Foundation (USA), Inc. “We are thrilled to play a role in giving young people access to experiences that might inspire them to become the next generation of engineers, scientists, and designers.”
Mazda says that students taking part in FUSE programs are impacted beyond the learning studio where their developing skills and abilities are transferred into their work and classroom environments. The FUSE program participants also experience an environment with abundant peer support, encouraging the development of necessary ‘non-cognitive’ skills, such as problem-solving, persistence, and working together.
“The FUSE team has always put the student experience at the center of our work,” said FUSE Founder and Principal Investigator, Professor Reed Stevens. “We are thrilled by Mazda Foundation’s generous support as we launch 10 new FUSE Studios in Southern California. We look forward to developing sustaining partnerships with each of our grant recipients, and we are excited that students will receive access to a diverse suite of challenges designed to ignite creativity, collaboration, and discovery through activities not found in a typical classroom setting.”
The grant from Mazda will go toward the Fall 2021 launch of FUSE Studios in 10 elementary schools across the L.A. Unified School District. This district is the country's second-largest, and largest public school district in California. Its eductors are represented by multiple unions including the United Teachers of Los Angeles, (UTLA) and the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA). The district has an annual budget of over $8 billion and serves about 500,000 students. The district is expected to receive an additional $5 billion from the federal government in the form of COVID relief funds this year. In the L.A. Unified School District, funding is not distributed equally across all schools and all classrooms. The district employs an Equity Index, to shift funds to students from certain socioeconomic and racial groups.
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