Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Initiative (T-STEM)

Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) Academies are rigorous secondary schools focusing on improving instruction and academic performance in science and mathematics-related subjects and increasing the number of students who study and enter STEM careers. T-STEM Academies are demonstration schools and learning labs that develop innovative methods to improve science and mathematics instructions.

Prior to the 2011-2012 school year, the only path to become a T-STEM Academy was a T-STEM Academy grant through the Texas Education Agency or one of the private partners in the Texas High School Project.

Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, a second pathway was created. Campuses, using local or other sources of funding, that are implementing the T-STEM Design Blueprint with fidelity may apply to be designated as a T-STEM Academy. T-STEM campuses are designated based on a rigorous designation process. Once a campus is designated, professional development and technical assistance are provided to designated T-STEM academies to serve as demonstration schools and learning labs to showcase innovative instruction methods which integrate technology and engineering into science and mathematics instruction. Designated T-STEM campuses serve students in grades 6-12 or 9-12. (TEA Website)

Benchmark 1: School Design

The T-STEM academy must provide a STEM focused program serving students in grades 6-12 or grades 9-12 with an active relationship with the feeder middle school(s).
a. Annual training and professional development calendar and plan for teachers
b. Mentor/induction program plans
c. T-STEM leadership meetings and agenda notes

Benchmark 2: Target Population

The T-STEM academy shall serve, or include plans to scale up to serve, students in grades 6-12 or 9-12, and shall target and enroll students who are at risk of dropping out of school as defined by the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) and who might not otherwise go to college.
a. Written admission policy and enrollment application
b. Written recruitment plan including a timeline of recruitment and enrollment events, and recruitment materials for distribution at feeder schools and other appropriate locations in the community
c. Brochures and marketing in Spanish, English, and/or other relevant language(s)
d. Written communication plan for targeting identified audiences, parents, community members, school board, higher education personnel, etc.

Benchmark 3: Strategic Alliances

Strategic partnerships with business and industry partners and Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) are formally articulated in writing and clearly define a variety of STEM careers.
a. Meeting agendas and minutes, with action items and decision logs
b. Final, signed, and executed MOU with IHE (Campuses must submit their final signed MOU to TEA when initially applying for designation or are provisionally designated)
c. Final, signed, and executed MOU with business/industry partner (Campuses must submit their final signed MOU to TEA when initially applying for designation or are provisionally designated)
d. A list of strategic partners with each member’s organization, title and role in providing work-based learning for students by grade level

Benchmark 4: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

The T-STEM academy shall provide a rigorous course of study that enables students to receive a high school diploma and complete industry certifications, work-based learning experiences, and/or early college credit during grades 9-12.
a. Four-year crosswalk document
b. Master schedule
c. Curriculum alignment documents
d. Testing calendar and schedule for TSI, ACT, and SAT
e. Documentation detailing a minimum of three course of study examples that outline student pathways from high school, to associate degree, to industry certifications and beyond

Benchmark 5: Work-Based Learning

The T-STEM academy must offer students a variety of relevant, high-skill work-based learning experiences at every grade level that respond to student interest and regional employer needs contributing to students earning STEM-focused industry certifications and credentials.
a. Current dated regional high demand STEM occupation list
b. Documentation of appropriate work-based learning experiences available for students at all grade levels (6-12)
c. Aggregate data describing T-STEM student participation in work-based learning experiences as well as percentage of students earning industry certification and credentials by type
d. Samples of student artifacts such as writings, portfolios, presentations, or links to digital content

Benchmark 6: Student Support

The T-STEM academy will provide wrap-around strategies and services involving multiple stakeholders (parents, teachers, counselors, community members, etc.) to strengthen both the academic and technical skills necessary for high school and college readiness, as well as provide academic, technical, and individual support for students to be successful in rigorous academic and work-based learning experiences.
a. Bridge program calendar and curricula
b. Tutoring and other intervention/remediation program schedules
c. Calendar of family outreach events
d. Schedule of regularly scheduled counseling/advisory events and records of completion for these support services