MONTEBELLO – Student-designed roller coasters, balloon-powered cars and water-filtration systems took center stage when Suva Intermediate School hosted a Pathways science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Day last month. The event marks the first of four Montebello Unified STEM Days to be funded by a $6 million California Career Pathway Trust (CCPT) grant the District received in May 2014.

“The objective of our Pathways STEM Days is to provide our students with an overview of the project- and inquiry-based learning curriculum available at Montebello high schools,” MUSD Board President Edgar Cisneros said. “We want to demonstrate to prospective students that rigorous core curriculum has real world relevance and can inspire their imaginations while preparing them for college and career success.”

The Pathways STEM Days seek to recruit students to one of the 10 Pathways offered by the District. Three additional STEM Days are scheduled on Dec. 4 for Eastmont Intermediate, Dec. 8 for Montebello Intermediate and Dec. 11 for Macy Intermediate.

Suva Intermediate started the day with a school-wide pep rally in the morning, with Bell Gardens High School students on hand to answer questions about the three Pathways available at BGHS – Culinary Hospitality Opportunities Pathway (CHOP); Globally Responsible Environmental Education Network (GREEN); and Innovation Child Development, Academia, Resources for Family, Education (iCARE).

The students then divided by grade to participate in separate morning and afternoon workshops. Suva seventh- and eighth-graders who are enrolled in pre-Pathways classes demonstrated the progress they have made on their STEM projects – water filter designs by the eighth-graders and roller coasters by the seventh-graders. Suva sixth-graders busied themselves with introductory projects, creating hand sanitizers and developing polymers.

Suva’s Pathway STEM Day corresponded with the Pathways being offered at Bell Gardens High, though students can enroll for any of the programs offered at all four District high schools:

  • Montebello High – Developing Resourceful Individuals who Value Education Now (DRIVEN), Creative Arts Technology School (CATS)
  • Applied Technology Center (ATC) – Architecture Construction Engineering (ACE), Public Service & Law Enforcement (PALS), Culinary Hospitality Educational Foundations (CHEF), and Health Services
  • Schurr High – Engineering & Design
  • Bell Gardens High – CHOP, GREEN, iCARE

District partners East Los Angeles College (ELAC) and California State University, Los Angeles had representatives on campus to observe the student projects and lend their expertise. MUSD’s $6 million CCPT Pathways grant was secured in collaboration with ELAC, to coordinate regional resources to educate, train and ultimately find jobs for Montebello Unified students.

“Through our dedicated collaboration with East Los Angeles College, we succeeded in obtaining the CCPT grant, which continues to provide immeasurable resources in offering work-based learning opportunities for our students,” MUSD Superintendent of Schools Susanna Contreras Smith said. “These events illustrate our commitment to connecting our students to events, services, programs and mentors that produce graduates who are successful, life-long learners.”