Continuing its commitment to fund innovative efforts in STEM education, The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation (TCLFF) announced the creation of a new grant program — THE YOUNG SHELDON STEM INITIATIVE — inspired by the hit comedy series Young Sheldon. The program was created to foster excitement for learning in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), specifically in support of our nation’s public schools, teachers and students. Young Sheldon executive producer/TCLFF founder Chuck Lorre enrolled fellow Young Sheldon executive producers Steven Molaro and Jim Parsons, Warner Bros. Television Group and CBS to co-fund two-year educational grants totaling more than $600,000.00 which will be awarded to 19 select elementary, middle and high schools in Southern California, where Young Sheldon is primarily produced, and East Texas, where the show is set.
Young Sheldon executive producer/The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons attended three of the selected East Texas schools. And, Young Sheldon co-star Montana Jordan, who plays Sheldon’s brother Georgie, attended one of the Texas schools, where his mother also taught first grade.
Chuck Lorre said, “To those of us involved in making it, Young Sheldon is more than a television series. At its heart, it’s a story about potential. When the education of a child is supported, there is no limit to what that child might eventually achieve. We hope that in some small way, this program gives these public schools more STEM educational tools in the classroom for teachers to nurture and ignite the curiosity of students who will ultimately become our future leaders and scholars.”
Each of the 19 public school grant recipients will be acknowledged as a YOUNG SHELDON STEM INITIATIVE Grant Recipient and will receive a two-year grant from TCLFF which is specifically to support each school’s STEM teachers and STEM educational programs within their existing in-class curriculum and/or after-school programs. In addition to the direct grant funding to each school, the YOUNG SHELDON STEM INITIATIVE will also fully fund all costs for an annual experiential opportunity for students and teachers in and outside the classroom. Each school will be eligible to submit for continuation grants at the end of the two-year period.
- In Texas, students and teachers at each school will attend annual customized educational trips to Space Center Houston, a leading science and space exploration learning center.
- In California, students and teachers from each school will visit NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Additionally, teachers in both states will have access to JPL and NASA instructional materials.
- Each school will receive a certificate and an individualized “Congratulations” video message from the Young Sheldon cast. Cast members will be supporting the STEM INITATIVE by spreading the word across their social media channels.
- Items identified by the teachers to be funded include robotics kits, computers, iPads, Vernier probeware, lab tables, 3-D printers, LEGO Mindstorm educational kits, general lab equipment, curriculum development and teacher training.
- Each school can apply for limited supplemental grants at the end of each year to fund school science and robotics competitions.
- The initiative will launch to coincide with the beginning of the 2018–19 academic school year.
- More than 22,000 students total attend the 19 schools, seven of which are Title I schools. Of the more than 22,000 students, 22% qualify for free and reduced lunches.
The initial 19 institutions selected to be YOUNG SHELDON STEM INITIATIVE grant recipients are:
BURBANK (CALIF.) UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (8)
- Burbank High School (grades 9–12)
- John Burroughs High School (9–12)
- Monterey High School (10–12)
- Burbank Community Day School (8–12)
- Independent Learning Academy (7–12)
- Luther Burbank Middle School (6–8)
- David Starr Jordan Middle School (6–8)
- John Muir Middle School (6–8)
LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (1)
- Van Nuys High School (9–12); Young Sheldon films regularly at this school
KLEIN (TEXAS) INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT (3)
- Klein Oak High School (9–12); Jim Parsons attended this school
- Strack Intermediate School (6–8); Jim Parsons attended this school
- Haude Elementary School (K–5); Jim Parsons attended this school
TOMBALL (TEXAS) INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT (5)
- Tomball High School (9–12)
- Tomball Memorial High School (9–12)
- Creekside Park Junior High School (6–8)
- Tomball Junior High School (7–8)
- Willow Wood Junior High School (7–8)
ORE CITY (TEXAS) INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT (2)
- Ore City Elementary School; Montana Jordan attended this school and his mom taught first grade here for 19 years
- Ore City Middle School; Montana Jordan attended this school
This public school STEM initiative follows The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation’s collaborative establishment of The Big Bang Theory Scholarship Endowment at UCLA in 2015. This unprecedented endowment and scholarship program was designed to assist undergraduate students in need of financial aid who are pursuing their higher education in STEM fields. The Big Bang Theory UCLA scholarship launched with a $4 million endowment, which included partner donations from the TBBT cast, producers, crew, CBS, Warner Bros. Television. The program supported an inaugural class of 20 TBBT/UCLA scholars for the 2015–16 academic year, adding five scholars each succeeding academic year — in perpetuity. To date, The Big Bang Theory endowment at UCLA has supported 35 TBBT/UCLA scholars. Each year, the scholars come to the set to be honored by the cast and crew, and the scholars have created an official UCLA on-campus club which provides mentorship and weekly study groups.
About Young Sheldon
For more than a decade on The Big Bang Theory, audiences have come to know the iconic, eccentric and extraordinary Sheldon Cooper (played by four-time Emmy® winner and Golden Globe® winner Jim Parsons). This single-camera, half-hour comedy gives viewers the chance to meet him in childhood in East Texas, as the 9-year-old Sheldon (Iain Armitage) embarks on his innocent, awkward and hopeful journey toward the man he will become. Young Sheldon stars Iain Armitage, Zoe Perry, Lance Barber, Montana Jordan and Raegan Revord, with Annie Potts and Jim Parsons. Created by Chuck Lorre & Steven Molaro, the series is produced by Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc., in association with Warner Bros. Television. Lorre, Molaro, Parsons and Todd Spiewak are executive producers. Young Sheldon returns for its second season in a special Monday, September 24, season premiere at 8:30/7:30c on CBS, before moving to its regular time period of Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c on September 27.
Source: Klein ISD