Escondido School District Inaugurates State of the Art STEM Lab

Created: 22 March, 2018
Last update: 20 April, 2022

By Ana Gomez Salcido

Students at Del Dios Academy of Arts and Sciences will now be able to see specimens through digital microscopes and fly an F22 aircraft through a flight simulator with a new state-of-the-art science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) laboratory.

Made possible in part by a $100,000 grant from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, the new STEM laboratory at the Escondido Union School District will support the integration of Next Generation Science Standards and 21st century STEM technologies like virtual reality, flight simulation, and computer coding via Spheros.

“This brand new state-of-the-art STEM lab at Del Dios Academy is a foundational part of EUSD’s commitment to providing Escondido’s students with quality education that prepares them for today’s and tomorrow’s careers,” said EUSD Superintendent Luis Rankins-Ibarra. “We are thankful to the many leaders in our community who invested in this facility to provide Escondido students and their families with top-notch STEM education.”

The STEM lab will also be a creative “makerspace” for Del Dios science classes and enable Del Dios students to learn via high definition displays and Wi-Fi casting, to learn to use technology and devices in their presentations, and to foster creativity and team collaboration.

“Northrop Grumman is committed to investing in the communities where our employees work and live,” said Alfredo Ramirez, director of engineering, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “We hope that the new lab will strengthen the school’s ability to inspire STEM curious minds and continue fostering innovation for the future workforce.”

Del Dios Academy of Arts and Sciences won the grant through a national competition that had the participation of over 200 schools.

The Northrop Grumman Foundation picked only five schools of the 200 participants, and two of them are located in San Diego County.

“We are always needing engineers in our business, and our colleges have a healthy population that pursue technical science, but we start working with middle schools and high schools to promote the studies in science and to help them understand their innovative minds,” Ramirez said. “We are very active in fostering this type of education in our communities, not only through the grant but also with high school and college internships that help create a pipeline for science jobs.”

Del Dios Academy of Arts and Sciences had to generate a video proposal of what their vision was for a new STEM lab at their school, and that’s how they got picked among the only five winners nationwide.

“The classroom were the new STEM lab is located used to be a woodshop room, and when the class ended, the room was transformed into an Alternative Learning Center, which will house students for behavior and intervention, but we decided to transform and model the room with a STEM focus,” said Albert Ngo, principal at Del Dios Academy of Arts and Sciences to La Prensa San Diego. “We had computer labs before and we have our science classrooms but nothing that was dedicated only to STEM education, we had to have our STEM classes in our normal classrooms.”

Ngo said that a high percentage of the students at Del Dios Academy of Arts and Sciences have a social-economic disadvantage, and if it wasn’t for the grant, they may no be able to experience STEM educations, STEM opportunities that can be now provided through the new lab.

“We have the goal of providing something really innovative and to provide an alley for students to be able to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics in ways that will mirror the real world in the 21st century,” Ngo added.