Los Altos Elementary, Hacienda La Puente, California
Success Story: A C-STEM School in Hacienda La Puente USD Reached Nearly 100% Homework Completion Rate in Distance Learning During the Pandemic
For distance learning during the pandemic, the C-STEM work was the most successful work we did with our students. Completion rates with the C-STEM curriculum were near 100% in classes compared to most other assignments, which would vary from 30 to 70% completion.— Rosalie Sinapi, Principal, Los Altos Elementary School
I like how I can use the curriculum to integrate coding and hands-on math to bring math alive for the students …Fun, exciting, and lots of opportunities for kids to learn from their mistakes.— Catherine Ouellette, K-2 Teacher, Lassalette Elementary School
Under the leadership of Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Fancher, Hacienda La Puente Unified School District (HLPUSD) has been successfully implementing the C-STEM program since 2019. Hacienda La Puente is a district of 17,000 students in the Los Angeles area, with 78% of its students being Hispanic/Latinx and another 15% Asian. Approximately three-quarters of the student population is eligible for a free or reduced-fee lunch program. The district began the C-STEM program at the middle school and high school levels and found it “engaging” and “very rewarding” for their students, helping build their math skills and confidence. It therefore expanded the program to the elementary level during the 2020-2021 school year, with 23 teachers participating.
Assistant Superintendent Fancher is “very pleased with the rigor and hands-on nature of the program” and notes that the district’s “goal is to provide all of our students with 13 years of integrated hands-on learning of math with coding and robotics.” They are therefore adding 26 additional teachers to the C-STEM program in the 2021-2022 academic year.
Los Altos Elementary School has a success story on engaging student learning during the pandemic. In 2020-21, the C-STEM Mathematics with Robotics and CS/STEAM with Robotics curriculum was implemented in all classrooms from kindergarten through second grade, as well as one fifth grade class. Nine Los Altos teachers attended C-STEM’s online summer professional development classes, along with other teachers from the district, with follow-up PD sessions and ongoing support from the C-STEM Center during the school year. Teachers also participated as panelists and presenters at the 2020 C-STEM Annual Conference and the 2021 C-STEM Symposium.
During the 2020-21 school year about 270 students at Los Alto Elementary learned Math/CS/STEAM using the C-STEM program. Principal Rosalie Sinapi of Los Altos Elementary noted the significant improvement in student engagement and motivation: “For distance learning during the pandemic, the C-STEM work was the most successful work we did with our students. Completion rates with the C-STEM curriculum were near 100% in classes compared to most other assignments, which would vary from 30 to 70% completion. The teachers were able to hook students virtually, and although our students did not get to hold the robot hardware themselves during the distance learning, they cheered and found success in remotely sending their code to teachers who would demonstrate how the program looked and what the robots could do for the students. The C-STEM experience has transformed the lives of our students during the hardest year we have had in education. It gets them excited about learning math and problem-solving skills. It was the highlight of the year!“
Los Altos Elementary will be building on this success by expanding its C-STEM program to the third grade level for the 2021-22 school year. And district-wide, Assistant Superintendent Fancher looks forward “to continue transforming our traditional math curriculum into hands-on integrated math education with computing at the elementary level.”
The video below on Transforming K-2 Math/CS/STEAM Education with Coding and Robotics shows how the program engages and motivates both students and teachers, even at the lowest grade levels and in a distance learning context, and with the capability of learning in both English and Spanish:
And this companion video below shows how they are using the program in their upper grades to close the achievement gap: