Richardson Independent School District STEM

In May 2018, the Texas Instruments (TI) Foundation announced a $4.6 million grant to Richardson ISD and Educate Texas to support Richardson ISD in creating a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) feeder pattern within the Lloyd V. Berkner High School attendance zone. With technical assistance provided by Educate Texas, this initiative supports 16 schools serving more than 10,000 students from 80 different countries. The intent of this “STEM for All” concept is to reshape the teaching and learning of these subjects across all grade levels to better prepare students from pre-K through 12th grade for higher education and workforce success.
As part of its Texas-Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (T-STEM) designation by the Texas Education Agency, Berkner High School currently offers six STEM pathways for students: STEM management, robotics, biomedical science, programming and software development, cybersecurity and aviation.
While the grant has the long-term aim of creating a stronger, skilled STEM workforce for North Texas, the goal for the grant period of 2018-2021 was to help Richardson ISD build and implement the “STEM for All” concept in the classroom. This includes:

• Teacher professional development
• Greater student engagement and relevancy through project-based learning and extracurricular activities
• Rigorous curriculum and instruction that center on college-and career readiness
• Partnerships with higher education and business partners to ensure the concept stays relevant and sustainable

The Richardson ISD STEM for ALL work initially targeted math and science achievement and improving graduation rates. As the implementation gained momentum, the district recognized a unique opportunity to truly transform the learning community. STEM-influenced, interdisciplinary programming is not only positively impacting STAAR results and academic achievement, but also compelling students to think beyond their classrooms and extracurricular activities. 

This effort builds upon prior grants for a districtwide STEM model in Lancaster ISD made in 2012-2018, during which Educate Texas was also the technical assistance provider for the district. Because of the success of the Lancaster ISD STEM district, the TI Foundation and Educate Texas worked together to assess candidates from other north Texas districts to extend the concept, resulting in Richardson ISD being selected after a competitive grant proposal process.