Renowned for her donation of two police dogs to the Oro Valley Police Dept., Long Realty’s Lisa Bayless shifts her philanthropy from the biological to the electromechanical with her latest gift: a $25,000-plus grant to Pima County schools to fund a pilot elementary-school robotics program.
Bayless’ donation brings the STEMAZing/SARSEF Elementary Edison Robotics Pilot to fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms in three area school districts. The pilot program will supply more than 500 Edison educational robots, classroom sets of robotics books and supporting supplies, plus two full days of professional-development training for the participating teachers.
The orange, two-wheeled, sandwich-sized, child-friendly programmable robots are designed to introduce the principles of robotics, computer programming and engineering. And it doesn’t stop there: Lessons will cross subject-area boundaries into language arts, social studies, math and everything in between.
Participating teachers will receive a robot for each student—around 30 per class—plus one more for the teacher.
Four of the six schools are in the Amphitheater Public Schools district: Copper Creek, Donaldson and Harelson Elementary, plus Innovation Academy. Dove Mountain CSTEM K-8 is in Marana Unified; Oyama Elementary is in Tucson Unified. Twenty teachers will take part in the pilot project.
Established in 2013, the STEMAZing Project is an initiative of the Pima County School Superintendent’s Office developed to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in Southern Arizona. SARSEF is perhaps best known as the organization hosting the local science fair.
“Robots are a fun way to learn, but there’s a serious purpose behind this program,” Bayless said. “It helps students and teachers from Pima County’s suburban and inner-city schools share ideas and solve problems together, both in person and by Zoom. It brings together diverse groups of people so they can collaborate and learn from one another. It builds community.”
A native Tucsonan, Oro Valley resident and head of the Lisa Bayless Team from Long Realty’s Oro Valley office, Bayless has been a sales professional since 2007. Focusing on residential properties across greater northwest Tucson, she ranks in the top one percent of all Tucson-area agents and was 2020’s top seller, by dollar volume, of all Long Realty agents. She is active with numerous nonprofits and is a past president of the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson.
The funding is part of Bayless’ “Community First” program, which returns to community causes at least $500 from each commission she earns. The program is on track to donate some $80,000 in 2021, Bayless said.