Texas Science Technology Engineering and Math (T-STEM) Initiative Robin Gelinas—Texas Education Agency Director of Policy Initiatives
What is the Texas High School Project? • The Texas High School Project (THSP) is a $260M public-private initiative with 3 funding streams administered cooperatively toward common goals: • $148M TEA—$118M in state and $30M in federal funding • $57M Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private funding managed by THSP staff at Communities Foundation of Texas • $55M Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
Why was THSP created? Building on previous reforms • TAKS testing expanded with an exit-level graduation assessment at Grade 11 • All ninth grade students now enroll in the college-preparatory Recommended High School Program • State funding provided for ninth-grade initiative and high school initiative • Personal graduation plans required for at-risk students
College readiness is low for all groups Percent of Students Meeting THECB Standard for Higher Education Readiness (Preliminary Spring 2006)
What are the goals of the THSP? • Key goals: • Increase high school graduation rates • Promote a college-going culture and increase college readiness • Build statewide capacity for supporting high school redesign and reform • Create systemic changes that ensure long-term sustainable high school improvement
What is the T-STEM Initiative? Texas Science Technology Engineering and Math Initiative • In December of 2005, the THSP launched the Texas Science Technology Engineering and Math (T-STEM) Initiative. • Created in accordance with an executive order issued by Governor Rick Perry, this initiative addresses a number of reports revealing that Texas’ education system is not producing enough graduates with strong backgrounds in math, science, technology, and engineering. • The T-STEM Initiative will pilot innovative ways of delivering science, engineering, and math education and will focus on increasing the number of students who study and enter science, technology, engineering, and math careers
What is the T-STEM Initiative? Texas Science Technology Engineering and Math Initiative • Create a network of research and professional development centers • Establish 35 TSTEM Academies that integrate math and science and technology teaching • As of August 2006, TEA awarded 15 grants • Establish 5-6 TSTEM Centers • As of August 2006, TEA awarded 5 grants • Establish a Best Practices Network for statewide dissemination of lessons learned and promising practices in math and science education
What is STEM Education? • Sciences integrated with other subject areas • The design process driving student engagement • Teaching and learning strategies that challenge students to innovate and invent. • “Attending to science in the context of technology” How do we help children make sense of the world and solve new and novel problems?
T-STEM Academies School Design • Mix of charter schools, traditional public schools, and schools created in partnership with an institute of higher education (IHE) • Partnerships with employers to expose students to careers in STEM fields • Stand alone campuses or small learning communities • Approximately 100 students per grade • Grades 6 – 12 (or 9 – 12 and actively work with feeder middle schools) • Student population with a majority representation from high-need populations • Open enrollment and non-selective
T-STEM Academies School Design, cont. • Four years of high school math and science • Work-based, contextual learning with a global perspective • Extra-curricular academic activities centered around STEM • Internship focused in the state’s economic development clusters and/or a capstone project • College-going culture with the goal that all students graduate with 12 to 30 college credits • Advisories focused on personalizing the student experience; every student has a graduation plan • Focus on teacher and leadership development
T-STEM Centers • Located at universities, regional ESCs, LEAs, and other non-profit organizations • Create regional partnerships among businesses, higher education entities, school districts, and other organizations to support the T-STEM initiative • Ensure national best practices are utilized in Texas and will identify and document best practices at a local and state level.
T-STEM Centers • Design innovative science, technology, engineering, and math curricula • Deliver professional development to high school teachers based on the effective practices and innovative solutions piloted in the T-STEM Academies • Train administrators, principals, and teachers in effective leadership strategies for supporting innovative math and science instruction in secondary schools • Collaborate with higher education institutions to recruit and train pre-service teachers in the integration of science, technology, engineering, and math
T-STEM Network • Serve as a conduit for sharing best practices and lessons learned from the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Academies and Centers with all Texas middle and high schools. • Provide access to relevant professional development, rigorous math and science curriculum, lessons plans infused with real-world activities in math and science, and expert and peer advice. • Certain schools will be designated as “network schools”