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Science programs receive $15k boost

OCEANSIDE — Two local science education programs got a big boost with $15,000 grants from the Oceanside Charitable Foundation. Kids College and El Camino High School Pathway Project were recently awarded foundation grants to develop and implement hands-on environmental science programs.
The Oceanside Charitable Foundation awards annual grants to Oceanside nonprofit groups.
“This year’s focus was on environmental discovery programs,” John Todd, chair of the Oceanside Charitable Foundation, said. “We looked for impactful programs that raise the quality life for the residents of the city, include collaboration, and have sustainability.”
Kids College is a nonprofit education group that brings enrichment programs to area elementary schools. The grant funds will pay for curriculum development of three eight-week environmental education modules that will be piloted to 240 Oceanside elementary students. The units will focus on natural resources, wetlands and stewardship. Lessons will include hands on activities and local field trips.
“Students will learn the role they can play to maintain the coast in a healthy way,” Ann Little, executive director of Kids College, said. “We want to spark interest in kids that will change their lives forever.”
Elementary students in the Kids College program will also partner with high school students in the El Camino High School Pathway Project to grow native plants and replant them in habitat restoration areas.
El Camino High School Pathway Project guides students through career exploration by project-based learning and business mentors lectures. Pathway Project introduces students to a ladder of career opportunities and informs them of the post secondary education needed to pursue different jobs. Jobs that require a training certificate, to a college or university degree are explored.
“As an educator I believe our present generation of students will need to have post-secondary education,” Julie Johnson, El Camino High School assistant principal and school Pathway Project administrator, said. “They no longer will be able to say ‘I’ll just go out and get a job’ when they get out of high school.”
Grant funds awarded to the Pathway Project will be used in part to equip the on campus greenhouse with supplies for students to grow and study Californian native plants.
Funds will also be used for hands on solar energy and wind energy lessons.
As a culminating activity high school students will present what they learned at the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering in March.
El Camino High School Pathway Project began with 55 high school freshmen this year and will add 80 to 129 students each year.
This is the third grant cycle for the Oceanside Charitable Foundation. The first year, the grant was awarded to nonprofit programs to help disadvantaged youth. The second year, the grant was awarded to programs that provided food to people in need.

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