U.S. STEM Programs
According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16 percent1 of high school seniors in the U.S. are proficient in math and interested in a STEM career. To address this urgent need to prepare young people for tomorrow’s workforce, DIRECTV is allocating a majority of our community investments to strengthen K-12 education, with a particular emphasis on STEM instruction. Research also reveals that students’ math skills are fundamental to other learning and underpin all STEM competencies. That’s why we have developed a special focus on math within our work to support STEM education across the U.S.
DIRECTV MATH CHALLENGE
To inspire kids to love math, we created the DIRECTV Math Challenge, a competition that began in Los Angeles in 2013 between elementary schools within the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. The Math Challenge incorporates ST (Spatial-Temporal) Math, an online math learning program that has been proven to double or triple the growth in student math proficiency at schools across the country. The initiative includes a multi-tiered incentive program that recognizes students, teachers, principals and parents for their role in improving math achievement.
Additionally in 2014, DIRECTV expanded its sponsorship of ST Math to Denver and funded the program for three elementary schools. As part of this partnership, DIRECTV worked with each school to develop strategic incentives to help enhance students’ excitement about math and the ST Math program.
1Source: U.S. Dept. of Education http://www.ed.gov/stem
Math Teacher Development
Great teaching is critical to student success. We invest in professional development for STEM teachers in the El Segundo Unified School District, adjacent to our corporate headquarters. Overall, students experience greater academic success in classrooms where teachers are implementing innovative instructional practices. During the 2013-2014 school year, DIRECTV provided a $50,000 grant to El Segundo Unified School District’s Education Foundation to fund the teacher training and implementation of Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI), which emphasizes using children’s mathematical thinking as a basis for instruction.
The program, to be implemented over a period of three school years, incorporates specialized, intensive teacher instruction by the UCLA Lab School professional development team. A total of 15 teachers and administrators received training, and in turn, their expanded capabilities were brought into the classroom to reach more than 300 students by the end of the year.
City Year Strategic Math Sponsorship
During the 2014–2015 school year DIRECTV was the Strategic Math Sponsor of AmeriCorps’ City Year Los Angeles, a national service organization that unites diverse young adults, ages 17 to 24, for a year of full-time service as tutors, mentors and role models in high-need schools where the majority of students need extra support. DIRECTV’s support helped City Year provide math training and professional development for almost 300 AmeriCorps members to ensure that they are prepared to help students improve their math performance. DIRECTV’s partnership also supported Math Coordinators, Corps members who receive additional math training to support their peers at each school site. Math Coordinators were invited to a special professional development day at DIRECTV to learn from and network with DIRECTV executives and employees. Additionally, at the end of the 2014 school year, DIRECTV recognized a select group of excellent math tutors in Denver and Los Angeles with DIRECTV Math Achievement Awards at Corps member graduations, which included a free one-year subscription to DIRECTV. For the 2014–2015 school year, these awards will also be given in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Columbus, Ohio, and San Jose, California.
Samsung Solve for Tomorrow "Math Makes-It-Work" Prize
DIRECTV is a longtime sponsor of Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow contest, which raises enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education among U.S. public school students. For the contest, student teams work together to apply STEM learning to the development of solutions of real-world problems in their communities. Contestants submit videos illustrating their project idea for a chance to win their share of more than $2 million in technology products. Five national grand prize winners receive cash prizes to help bring their project ideas to life. As a longtime sponsor of this initiative, DIRECTV contributes to the grand prize cash awards and offers complimentary DIRECTV installations for winning schools that opt in to the DIRECTV GOES TO SCHOOL program.
Learn More at www.samsung.com/us/solve.
For the 2014–2015 Solve for Tomorrow contest, DIRECTV launched its Math Makes-it-Work prize to celebrate the student team whose video best demonstrates the important role that math can play in solving real-world problems.
The students' school will receive a $25,000 prize to further their project. Additionally, the team's advisor will receive a free year of DIRECTV to enjoy at home in recognition of his or her effort to encourage students to find creative, hands-on ways to apply the math they’ve learned in school.
TEACH FOR AMERICA MATH SPONSORSHIP
To further our work to help students across the U.S. receive a great math education, DIRECTV launched a $250,000 partnership with Teach For America. For the 2014-2015 school year, DIRECTV funding will support Teach For America's national efforts to recruit, train and support math educators, with the Los Angeles, Oklahoma and Colorado regions receiving dedicated funding. In 2015, DIRECTV and Teach For America will partner to host MATHx — a series of programs featuring short, energizing talks exploring innovation, exciting trends and achievement in math education.
DIRECTV Scholarship Program
Our investment in educational achievement extends to supporting the aspirations of children of DIRECTV employees in the U.S. and Latin America. In 2014, we awarded 100 scholarships of between $3,000 and $10,000 to college-bound children of DIRECTV employees. The program grants awards based on criteria that include financial need, academic merit, STEM achievement and community service.