The Texas Instruments (TI) Foundation recently announced a grant of up to $2.2 million to Educate Texas to accelerate the development of a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) district in the Lancaster Independent School District (LISD). The school district which is south of Dallas mostly serves African American and Hispanic students (approximately 96 percent), groups who traditionally have been underrepresented in STEM careers such as engineering.
”Early results of student achievement have been promising after a number of measures were put in place across most grade levels at Lancaster ISD during the last three years,” said Lewis McMahan, chairman of the TI Foundation. “We hope this additional grant accelerates that progress. We believe all students can move forward and experience greater success in STEM. By focusing this new grant on areas that have shown to be the most impactful, we are confident student achievement will improve even faster. The Lancaster ISD and Educate Texas teams are to be commended for raising expectations, increasing the focus on STEM, developing teachers and leaders, and most importantly, driving gains in student achievement.”
In 2012 the TI Foundation announced a multi-year grant of up to $4.8 million to Educate Texas, a public-private initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas, to work with LISD to build out a “STEM District” using proven best practices from across the state’s robust STEM network of schools. The goal was to improve academic achievement for all students and increase students’ awareness and exposure to STEM college and career pathways. With the latest announcement, the TI Foundation support for the initiative totals $7 million to support this district-wide transformation.
The grant announcement was attended by Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, who represents the 30th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Please click HERE to view Lancaster ISD's video from the announcement.
TI Foundation board chair Lewis McMahan anounced the grant to an audience of students and educators on May 4th during STEM Education Week in Texas.
“In the next 3-5 years, I see Lancaster ISD becoming one of the premier districts within the state as it relates to offering students opportunities to engage in STEM activities, being a model for improving student performance, and generating new ideas for student success,” said Ty G. Jones, Lancaster ISD School Board President. “This investment will help us to get there as we are providing targeted professional development. The more qualified teachers and educational instructors that we have, the better for our students.”
The TI Foundation, Educate Texas, and LISD have worked together over the past three years addressing core elements of LISD’s original plan to include a strong STEM foundation of college-ready teaching and learning, strategic partnerships and community outreach, and a plan for sustaining this work. “The initial gains that LISD has achieved have been impressive”, said Brent Christopher, President and Chief Executive Officer of Communities Foundation of Texas. “The continued support by the Texas Instruments Foundation demonstrates the impact of aligning proven practices with strong leaders, key community partners, and philanthropic support.”
The new grant will support the continued efforts to advance student success in LISD by:
- Providing additional professional development for teachers, leaders, and counselors;
- Enhancing College and Career Readiness initiatives for students;
- Supporting changes to Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment by aligning math curriculum to college and career standards, developing elementary STEM engineering courses, and aligning dual credit and Advanced Placement (AP) ™ courses; and
- Designing student supports that expand summer bridge programs and engage more students in STEM extracurricular activities and STEM camps.
“We are grateful to the TI Foundation for their continued support of Lancaster ISD and proud to continue to partner with the exceptional Lancaster ISD team. We hope to leverage the learning from this district-wide effort to inform how for other districts across the state can apply these practices to benefit more students,” said George Tang, Chief Operating Officer of Educate Texas.
“It certainly is exciting news that the Texas Instruments Foundation has appreciated the marriage of their initial funding and are seeing the gains from the school district’s work,” said Lancaster Mayor Marcus E. Knight. “It speaks well to how the district has put previous funds to use. And it speaks well to the strides that we are making as a district and community.”