Texas Instruments commits $5 million to advance STEM education

At Tuesday night's Plano Independent School District (PISD) Board of Trustees' meeting, the district and longtime community partner Texas Instruments (TI) announced a $5 million commitment from the company to help launch and develop the district's first academy.

As the founding corporate partner, TI's involvement will enable PISD to move ahead with plans for the new innovative high school as recommended by the Academy Visioning Committee in April this year. The committee, appointed by the Plano ISD board, was made up of parents, students, central office and campus staff members, higher education representatives, business leaders and community members.

The district's collaborative approach to research and planning yielded a proposal for an academy that combines project-based learning with rigorous coursework and adds technical arts to a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum. TI will work closely with the district on the STEM curriculum and technology integration for replication in other schools.

The academy, which will be located in an existing building at 1701 Alma, is expected to open in the fall of 2013, starting with 9th and 10th grades.

Plano School Board President Tammy Richards said, "This is a great step for Plano ISD to be able to offer parents and students a choice for pursuing an area of academic interest. Much appreciation is extended to TI for partnering with us in continuing to offer education in innovative and creative ways in our school district."

Working together, PISD and TI will create, expand and maintain a variety of programs to support and broaden educational curriculum and resources for students. TI's education technology products include graphing hardware and software, formative assessment systems, digital curriculum and professional development and 3D projectors may be used in the academy's classrooms. The school could also have access to TI's latest developmental products as a "beta site."

Both TI and the TI Foundation have had a strong, collaborative partnership with the district and the Plano Education Foundation for many years. Among the many initiatives, TI's Education Technology business has worked with PISD for more than 11 years, and the TI Foundation has supported STEM teacher awards annually for five years.