March 16, 2022
Ed Foundation Supports Classroom Innovation
How can we best prepare our students for the future? There are endless opportunities for career development in technology, and Culver City Unified School District prioritizes hands-on learning that can lead to a successful future beyond the classroom.
For 40 years, local families and businesses have made contributions to Culver City Education Foundation (CCEF) that fund dynamic programming during school hours to promote student success. The Foundation aims to be a resource for the district that can respond to current needs and fund equipment and supplies to sustain CCUSD high standards of education. Donations from CCEF supporters helped build the Science Lab at El Rincon, and have been instrumental in equipping the Art & Innovation Labs (CCAIL) at each elementary school. Year after year, CCEF connects with key district stakeholders to make funding decisions that will have a large impact on the experience of every student at every CCUSD school site.
Futuristic learning starts right away with our young learners at the elementary level in the Art & Innovation Labs (CCAIL). Cormac Garvey, a second grader at Farragut Elementary shares, “My favorite part of Art & Innovation Lab are the robot blocks. What I like about them is that they are really cool to build with, and they are really fun because you can learn about engineering. If you want to be an astronaut or video game designer, it’s good because it helps you to learn how coding works.” Cormac’s mom, Meghan, is one of CCEF’s newest board members, and is proud to know the organization funded the high tech equipment and supplies to support this innovative STEAM class. While many families may not be able to afford expensive materials to build a robot at home, the CCAIL creates an equitable opportunity for all students to explore and learn in the areas of technology, art and engineering.
In Ms. Erin Wilke’s STEM elective class at Culver City Middle School, 75 students are using 3D printers to design and create 3D objects. This amazing classroom equipment, funded by CCEF donations, has become a focal point for her to teach lessons that integrate technology, engineering, math, and art. Moreover, 3D-printing projects encourage creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving. Students have been working on designing and printing functional, creative items like stands for their cell phones, and even interior design renderings in 3D. Thank you, Ms. Wilke, for helping our students explore potential career pathways, and for being a female leader in STEM.
For our student musicians, CCEF is proud to sponsor the SmartMusic learning software at the middle and high school level. This software allows students to practice notes and rhythms at home while getting immediate feedback. During their practice time at home, the students can use the software to record and play back their exercises, finding room for improvement and listening to their progress. For beginners, SmartMusic is a great benefit for building confidence at home. More advanced students can use fun features such as band and orchestra accompaniments to play along with a professional ensemble. High School music teacher Dr. Tony Spano saw heightened advancement in students who used SmartMusic. Dr. Spano shares his students, “show a greater degree of commitment to, understanding, and enjoyment of the important benefits of daily, focused, mindful practice.”
Even the most physical activities, like those of our student athletes, can be supported by technology. This school year, CCEF provided funding for HUDL software, an analytical tool for our high school sports teams. Coaches use it to help athletes learn from mistakes in practice and games, and students can further develop their skills to reach college sports goals. The HUDL software can also be used to create video highlight reels, boosting athletes’ college recruitment opportunities. Coach Jamal Wright of CCHS’s football team recently shared that one Culver City Centaur has received two scholarship offers thus far, and garnered much more interest among colleges due to the video review and performance analysis tools HUDL offers for our student athletes. Coach Wright said, “Each player can create their own highlight film and it makes it very easy for us to send out to a ton of schools. We thank the Ed Foundation for supporting athletics, and giving us this software which is invaluable to our program.”
When the Culver City Education Foundation was incorporated in 1981, its founders dreamed of being able to fund programs and initiatives that would bring our schools into the future. We are proud of what we have built over the past 40 years, and will continue to support the ever-changing needs and dreams for our students and teachers across the district. You can help advance our efforts by making a gift in honor of our 40th anniversary, or by joining our new and longtime friends at our Ruby Gala on Saturday, May 14, 2022. We look forward to reflecting on the community contributions from our history, while also envisioning the next 40 years of educational excellence in Culver City. Learn more at ccef4schools.org.