“Robots, Coding, STEAM, Oh My!” – “Kinder Coding at Carr!” – “Virtual Reality, Here We Come” – “Picture a Quadratic”
These are a few titles from the dozens of grant projects that 28 talented Torrance Unified School District (TUSD) teachers created and implemented in their classrooms during the 2017-18 school year with support from the Torrance Refining Company LLC’s (TORC) Innovation Education Grant Program.
The refinery has been hosting this popular grant program for 21-years, providing funds to Torrance teachers to enhance their curriculum in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, commonly referred to as “STEAM.” This year, TORC awarded a total of $80,000 in grants.
The Torrance Refinery hosted a special end-of-the-year event on June 7 to recognize the grant-winning teachers and showcase the projects they created. More than 100 teachers, parents, and local leaders attended the program, including Board of Education president Michael Wermers and Board member Terry Ragins; TUSD Superintendent Dr. George Mannon; City of Torrance Councilwoman Heidi Ann Ashcraft; and Olina Wibroe representing State Senator Ben Allen.
“We are pleased to provide support and resources to our local teachers through this annual program that directly benefits their students,” said Torrance Refinery Manager Steve Steach, who awarded Certificates of Recognition to the winning teachers during the event. “Teachers often do not get enough credit for all they do, so we enjoy hosting the showcase to express our appreciation to them, and to bring together students, parents, community members, and our workers to celebrate the teachers’ hard work that goes into creating and implementing innovative programs that inspire their students.”
During the event, guests had the opportunity to meet the teachers and interact with the grant projects, which included programmable drones, virtual reality simulations, remote-controlled devices coded by students, a 3-D printer, and more.
To qualify for the grant, teachers are required to show a direct link to “Design Thinking” techniques, while incorporating “Common Core State Standards” and “Next Generation Science Standards” into their proposals. A grant-selection committee comprising Torrance Refinery employee volunteers selected the winning grant proposals.
“As a 15-year member of the TUSD School Board, I have seen first-hand the Torrance Refining Company’s generous ongoing support,” said Terry Ragins. “Thanks to TORC support and funding, TUSD teachers and students are regularly benefitting from amazing enrichment opportunities that would not otherwise be available to them. In each case, teachers are encouraged to bring science, technology, and engineering to their students, in their classrooms and in the “real” world, teaching valuable content and relevant skills. This hands-on approach allows students to explore and enjoy scientific inquiry and endeavors, promoting attention to and serious consideration of STEAM oriented careers in their future pursuits.”
The Torrance Refinery congratulates this year’s winning teachers and appreciates all they do for the students in our community’s schools.
This year’s winning teachers:
Alissa Goins, Arnold Elementary
Allen Chin, Adams Elementary
Ann Strauch, Arnold Elementary
April Pages, Victor Elementary
Chizuko Morimoto, Wood Elementary
Danielle Uy, Carr Elementary
Gayle Bond, Hickory Elementary
Heather Fitzgerald, Hickory Elementary
Jay Estabrook, North High
Jeanne Coe, Carr Elementary
Jennifer Walsh, Arnold Elementary
Julie Wood, South High
Karen Sasso, Arnold Elementary
Kathy Black, Arnold Elementary
Katie Doupe, North High
Katie Tyler, Wood Elementary
Kevin Tambara, Bert Lynn Middle School
Lindy Lee, Anza Elementary
Margaret Hughes, Arnold Elementary
Maureen Arevalo, Adams Elementary
Nany Ton, Madrona Middle School
Nicole Parsons, South High
Sabrina Holdsworth, Towers Elementary
Sandy Underwood, Towers Elementary
Sara Aloteibi, South High
Sarah Peterson, Carr Elementary
Shawna Rogers, Arnold Elementary
Sherri Nelson, Carr Elementary