Network: Educate Texas

Purpose: The Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Educate Texas support T-STEM Academies in order to concentrate state and local efforts for improving math and science achievement among Texas students. The T-STEM Academies Design Blueprint is intended to serve as a road map for the growth of STEM academies. The Academies use the T-STEM Design Blueprint, Rubric, and Glossary as a guidepost to build and sustain T-STEM schools that address the seven benchmarks:

  1. Mission driven leadership
  2. School culture and design
  3. Student outreach, recruitment, and retention
  4. Teacher selection, development and retention
  5. Curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  6. Strategic alliances
  7. Academy advancement and sustainability

Usage: The tool has been used to build a T-STEM District-Wide Blueprint, which is in draft at the current time. In addition, on July 19, 2011, Texas Administrative Code (TAC) identified a T-STEM Academy as: “A secondary school established under the Texas Education Code, §39.407, to focus on improving instruction and academic performance in STEM-related subjects and on increasing the number of students who study and enter STEM-related fields. T-STEM Academies are demonstration schools and learning labs that develop innovative methods to improve STEM-related instruction.” TAC also instituted the requirement for an annual application and designation process for any school wishing to become/retain T-STEM designation in the State of Texas. In early 2015, the T-STEM Blueprint underwent a third revision to include language specific to middle school T-STEM Academies and House Bill 5 graduation requirements.

Impacts: Each of the TEA-Designated T-STEM academies are asked to complete a Self-Assessment School Reflection document each year. As a result, EdTX has itemized indicators that can be used for planning specific professional development and other support needs. Ed TX also has key input about how to leverage strengths of high-performing role model academies in helping new academies begin a STEM campus. The information gathered is used to guide the Theory of Change for the T-STEM Initiative and measure outcomes for progress monitoring.

Prior research or grounding: The original T-STEM Academies Design Blueprint was written in 2005 and first revised in 2008. During 2009-10, a task force comprised of T-STEM Coaches, T-STEM Center leaders, Educate Texas, and Texas Education Agency representatives revised the T-STEM Academies Design Blueprint and added rubrics and a glossary.

Contact: Dr. Reo Pruiett, Educate Texas, 214.425.4106, rpruiett@cftexas.org