May 2024 Newsletter

Category: Newsletter

During spring break, fourth and fifth grade students from the Lincoln cluster participated in field trips to La Jolla and Mt. Soledad. They explored marine science topics and participated in beach immersion activities while learning about the history of the area. This collaboration was between EIS and the Walter Munk Foundation For The Oceans.

We are immensely grateful to the Sefton Foundation for providing funding for this program.

Happy Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

We are honored to serve students from all backgrounds in San Diego, including those from the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. AAPI heritage, innovations, and contributions to STEM fields improve our communities for everyone.

Happy Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month from the Elementary Institute of Science (EIS)!

Congratulations Super Space Bots

The 2024 EIS Botball team, the Super Space Bots completed the San Diego regional tournament this weekend, finishing in fifth place and winning the coveted KISS Award. We are so proud of for all their dedicated work the past few months. Four of the eight girls were in the previous year Botball team, and others participated in our FIRE Up summer camp.

The girls wouldn’t have made it without our awesome instructors who guided students to take on this challenging program. We greatly appreciate their support to ensure girls can see themselves as capable of robotics and coding!

Thanks to all our sponsors who funded the program including BAE Systems, Botball Educational Robotics Program , The Boeing Company, PNC Foundation, the Boys and Girls Foundation, and Nordson Corporation Foundation.


Alumni Story: Jill Watts Reflects on EIS

Jill Watts and her sister Becky, daughters of Tom and Doris Watts both attended afternoon sessions at EIS back when programs were in the white building on the hill. Engaging instructors and local field trips stand out as the most impactful of her memories.

She fondly remembers learning about ecology on field trips to Mt. Laguna and learning about marine biology hunting grunions at night on the beach. She remembers a major benefit of being a part of EIS was meeting renowned STEM professionals such as Charles Harbison, a scientist at the Natural History Museum, and getting a behind the scenes tour of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

Instructors who left an undeniable impact included Mr. Higgins from the fire department who taught a variety of hands-on subjects and led field trips and Mr. Olson, a photographer who helped set up the original photo lab. He taught students about the scientific process of photography.

One of her more amusing stories to share from the early days is how EIS acquired bees to live on the property. It was a group effort – Tom Watts and Ben Holman captured a swarm of bees that had lost its queen to take to the Institute while Doris Watts drove the car with the plastic bag, held out the window so that the bees would not invade the car while it was in motion.

Jill continues to be a strong supporter of EIS for which we are immensely grateful. She went on to become an author, writing best-selling books such as the Black Cabinet: The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt, and a Professor Emeritus of History at CSU San Marcos.

We are so grateful for alumni taking time to share their experience at EIS. Thank you Jill

We are honored and excited to announce that we have been chosen to participate in a special charitable giving campaign, sponsored and funded by Target. And you have the chance to help direct a portion of Target’s donation to us!

Now through June 30th, vote for EIS through the Target Circle program to help determine how Target’s donation will be divvied up. Find out more about Target Circle here:

We’re asking our supporters to help us make the most of this incredible opportunity. Every vote counts to help us receive a portion of the available Target funds as we continue our mission of inspiring a love of science and creating opportunity for diverse children and youth.

Don’t forget, as you earn more votes, you can keep voting multiple times during the campaign!

Thank you for your support! We encourage you to share your support for us (and your thanks to Target) on social media throughout the duration of the voting!


The San Diego Institute of Science and Technology (SD SciTech) expands EIS programs to make a significant impact on high school students. SD SciTech is a robust, STEM-based college preparation and leadership program for underserved students in southeastern San Diego and beyond. SD SciTech is the only college readiness program focused on STEM careers and academics in the greater San Diego region. We are excited to share some wonderful local internships for San Diego County high school students. Learn more: San Diego SciTech Program Updates

Are you a high school student in San Diego with an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)? Volunteer as a lab assistant at EIS! Learn more:


Hands-On Education: Placed Based Learning at EIS

EIS has offered place-based education to students in Southeast San Diego in various educational settings since 1964. Place-based education uses the local community and environment as a starting point to teach students interdisciplinary concepts from science to social studies. Hands-on and real-life learning experiences help students improve academic knowledge, appreciate the natural world, and develop a sense of place.

Sandra Lebrón (far right) with summit participants in La Paz, Mexico

EIS Education Director Sandra Lebrón, joined a group of education and development experts from various Environmental and STEM Education organizations in the first Place-Based Teaching and Learning Summit from February 26 – 29, 2024, in La Paz, Mexico, organized by Alumbra Innovations. Alumbra Innovations envisions a world in which community, environment, and economy function as an integrated system for well-being.

Alumbra’s Place-Based Teaching and Learning Initiative works with community partners and peer funders to ensure that the next generation is translating experiential learning into blue and green careers and active citizenship. EIS is part of this initiative that focuses on building cross-sector collaborations to increase access to high-quality and place-based out-of-school experiences for students. Our partnerships with other organizations will continue to provide access to STEM learning opportunities for our students with the hope of helping our students develop a STEM identity and increase opportunities in STEM careers.

EIS offers field trips for our elementary-middle school-age students to various San Diego’s biodiverse hotspots to explore the outdoors and learn about their communities. We support our high school students’ career pathways with opportunities such as hands-on exploration and backpacking trips to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park with Teton Science Schools.





Join the Mathemagicians Homework Club at EIS on Saturdays (excluding holidays) from 12:00-1:00 pm at EIS. Spots are limited – please RSVP!

If you would like to participate, email Include your email, your child’s grade, and math concepts they are working on (or share an attachment of their homework). Mentors will offer help, more practice problems or worksheets. This includes SAT math help as well. They will monitor this email daily so you don’t have to wait until Saturday to ask for help.

Mathemagicians is a volunteer led program at EIS to support local youth.





Have you participated in programs or volunteered at the Elementary Institute of Science?
Whether you’re still in high school, college, working or retired, we want to know what you’ve been up to and if you have thoughts about any impact EIS had on your life or career. Please send an email to our Development Assistant, Leah Oviedo at

EIS alumni are invited to join our official group to reconnect and stay updated on future reunions.

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Use the form below to contact EIS staff, and we will respond as quickly as possible!

Elementary Institute of Science
608 51st Street
San Diego, CA 92114