Districtwide STEM

Educate Texas and the TI Foundation have partnered since 2011 to transform southern Dallas County school districts into STEM learning communities -- embedding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teaching, thinking and problem-solving skills across entire school districts. STEM-influenced, interdisciplinary programming is not only positively impacting student outcomes and academic achievement, but also compelling students to think beyond their classrooms and extracurricular activities.

In 2011, faced with research showing that Texas high school students rank higher for college and career readiness when they receive STEM training, Educate Texas and the TI Foundation identified Lancaster Independent School District as an ideal district to receive a grant to partner in implementing a district wide STEM project. The building blocks for STEM are common in advantaged school districts, but not in southern Dallas county, where a majority of students qualify for subsidized lunches, and where math and science test scores are far below state averages.

Over the past decade, the partnership with TI Foundation and Lancaster ISD has been expanded on to develop new STEM districts in Richardson ISD, Cedar Hill ISD, and Desoto ISDs. Educate Texas provides coaching and technical assistance to each district, adapting the T-STEM Academies Design Blueprint to serve as a basis for planning the work with each district.

These districtwide initiatives address academic coursework, teacher capacity and professional development, financial sustainability models, community engagement, and alignment with businesses and higher education institutions to develop workforce pathways. Each district develops specific plans for grade-level curricula, technology upgrades, and enrichment activities such as speakers, field trips, bridge programs, and other experiences to bring STEM to life within the classrooms.

Ultimately, this work contributes to Educate Texas’ goal to reshape the teaching and learning of STEM subjects across all grade levels to better prepare students from pre-K through 12th grade for higher education and workforce success.


Lancaster Independent School District STEM Initiative: Transforming A District And A Community (2018)