RICHARDSON, Texas (PRWEB) May 16, 2018
The Texas Instruments (TI) Foundation, Educate Texas and the Richardson Independent School District (RISD) announced today they will partner to create a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) feeder pattern within the Lloyd V. Berkner High School attendance zone, which includes 16 schools serving more than 10,000 students from 80 different countries. The TI Foundation will give $4.6 million over the next three years to Educate Texas, the public-private initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas, to work with RISD to implement a “STEM for All” concept. The intent is to reshape the teaching and learning of these subjects across all grade levels to better prepare students from pre-K through 12th grade within the Berkner feeder schools for postsecondary and workforce success.
“The TI Foundation has a long history of investing to improve STEM education in North Texas,” said Andy Smith, Executive Director of the TI Foundation. “This latest effort builds upon prior grants for a district-wide STEM model in Lancaster schools made in 2012-2018. The Lancaster model has transformed the way STEM subjects are taught and learned across an entire district and has improved math and science scores in a district comprised largely of economically disadvantaged students. With the Berkner High School feeder pattern, we now have an opportunity to scale a proven concept to a larger district with a growing mix of under-represented students.”
Berkner High School received its Texas-STEM (T-STEM) designation in 2007 when it put into practice its STEM Academy, a program within the high school that established the base for the feeder pattern vision. The school currently offers three STEM career strands for students: engineering robotics; aeronautical engineering; and biotechnology. This new grant makes possible two new strands, cybersecurity and STEM management, which will be introduced into the system next school year. The “STEM for All” mission reflects RISD’s commitment to prepare students for careers of tomorrow by embedding STEM concepts and experiences in their learning journey, from pre-kindergarten through high school graduation.
“RISD is committed to changing the culture within the Berkner feeder pattern through STEM-infused curriculum that ensures academic rigor, student engagement and relevancy across the entire pre-K-12 curriculum,” said Jeannie Stone, Ed.D., superintendent of RISD. “STEM is not something we do, it’s who we are, which is why RISD strives to inspire our students from their very first day of school to explore and cultivate their interests to pursue a career pathway through a STEM culture.”
While the grant has the long-term aim of creating a stronger skilled STEM workforce for North Texas, the near-term goal over the next three years will be focused on helping RISD build and implement the “STEM for All” concept in the classroom. This includes:
- Teacher professional development that focuses on project-based STEM training and is supported by dedicated STEM coaches, as well as the opportunity for a master’s degree.
- Greater student engagement and relevancy through project-based learning as well as extra-curricular STEM clubs, competitions, and STEM-based community engagement and outreach.
- A rigorous, contextual-based curriculum and instruction that centers on college-and career-readiness that will increase opportunities for accelerated learning options, such as Advanced Placement® (AP) courses and dual-credit coursework.
The grant will also help the district to work with post-secondary education partners in business and industry to ensure relevancy and sustainability of the concept. There will be numerous measures to evaluate component outcomes, such as an increase in the number of teachers who obtain advanced degrees in STEM and who continue to work in the Berkner High School feeder pattern; student passing rates of STEM subjects in State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests and narrowing achievement gaps in STEM subjects among student sub-groups, such as by gender and ethnicity; and increasing the number of AP courses offered by the STEM Academy within Berkner, accompanied by increased passing rates of AP STEM exams.
"When we began to work with the TI Foundation and Lancaster ISD in 2012 to create a STEM district, we expected the successes and outcomes of LISD to serve as a rigorous STEM learning and teaching model that could be scaled to other Texas school districts,” said George Tang, managing director of Educate Texas. “We’re thrilled that the original expectation is now being realized with Richardson ISD. This opportunity allows us to extend our impact to the lives of 10,000-plus students and ultimately inspire and prepare them for great futures.”
Because of the success of the Lancaster ISD STEM district, the TI Foundation and Educate Texas worked together over the past year to assess candidates from other north Texas districts to extend the concept. After a competitive grant proposal process, RISD was selected based on the strong commitment of its superintendent, school board and the Richardson Chamber of Commerce, as well as the opportunity to execute on the concept through a larger school district’s feeder pattern comprised of largely under-represented students.
About Educate Texas
Launched in 2004 as Texas High School Project, Educate Texas, a public-private initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas, is dedicated to ensuring Texas students have the guidance and resources needed to graduate high school ready for college and career success. We bring together key organizations committed to improving education in Texas, working with school districts, community colleges, technical schools and regional universities to implement programs and practices promoting postsecondary readiness, access and success for all students. Educate Texas’ public-private partners include: the Texas Education Agency, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Governor's Office, Texas Legislature, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, and Greater Texas Foundation. For more information, please visit: edtx.org.
About Richardson ISD
Richardson ISD has been a leading school district in Texas since its establishment in 1854. Covering more than 43 square miles, its 54 schools span the cities of Richardson, Dallas and Garland. Traditions of excellence, high parent expectations and exceptional community support have all contributed to the district’s consistent academic success. RISD’s mission is to serve and prepare each of its more than 39,000 students for their global futures. For more information, please visit risd.org.
About the Texas Instruments Foundation
The Texas Instruments Foundation, founded in 1964, is a non-profit organization solely funded by Texas Instruments providing philanthropic support for educational and charitable purposes primarily in the communities where TI operates. Committed to supporting educational excellence, the foundation works to create measurable, replicable programs and initiatives. The focus is on providing knowledge, skills and programs to improve STEM education and increase the percentage of high school graduates who are math and science capable. More information can be found at ti.com/giving.
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