DALLAS, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The Texas Instruments (TI) Foundation presented its Innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Teaching Awards today to 10 teachers from the Dallas, Plano and Richardson Independent School Districts (ISD). These educators were also inducted into the TI Foundation's STEM Academy as fellows.
For the fourth year, the awards honored local secondary math and science teachers who consistently demonstrate quality instruction and enhance student achievement. Each honoree receives $10,000, of which $5,000 is directly awarded to the teacher. The other $5,000 is to be used at his or her discretion for professional development or instructional technology. The grants are awarded through the Richardson ISD Excellence in Education Foundation, the Plano ISD Education Foundation and the Dallas Education Foundation.
The TI Foundation's investment of more than $400,000 since 2006 has enhanced effective teaching and helped retain excellent teachers in these North Texas school districts. Since the program began, 97 percent of the STEM award recipients have remained in the classroom or serve as subject specialists or coaches within their districts. Eighty-three percent are still teaching in their STEM classrooms compared to an average retention rate of 67 percent among math and science teachers in Texas.
Award recipients are inducted as fellows in the TI Foundation STEM Teaching Academy, a unique professional development program that provides opportunities to share best practices and meet with experts working in the STEM fields on leading-edge technology. These experiences add context to the subjects the fellows teach and give them an up-close look at the future of technology and access to TI technologists and business leaders.
"Building math and science proficiency is critical to our communities' future workforce and economic health," said Sam Self, chairman of the TI Foundation board of directors. "We depend on teachers to cultivate a new generation of innovators by fostering excitement and achievement in STEM subjects."
Principals nominate teachers for the STEM awards based on criteria, such as demonstrating and documenting teaching effectiveness, establishing classroom innovation, participating in education activities outside the classroom, and encouraging curiosity and increasing interest in STEM subjects among students.
The 10 award recipients are:
- Dana R. Clark, Irma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School, Dallas ISD, who teaches middle school science and Pre-Advanced Placement (AP) science. Clark has traveled to Thailand and the Amazon to study those environments and share the data with her students and colleagues through organized discussions around maintaining a healthy environment.
- Victoria Gardner, Thomas Jefferson High School, Dallas ISD, who teaches high school chemistry. Gardner's "BioBucks," "Chemistry Cash" and limousine ride are tools she uses in addition to engaging lessons that have turned into student learning as demonstrated by more than 86 percent of her students passing district wide assessments, higher than the district average.
- Kristin Gonzales-Vega, Richardson High School, Richardson ISD, who teaches high school science. She chairs the science magnet program, and because of her leadership and vision, Richardson High School students are able to work with the University of Texas at Dallas, the City of Richardson and the school district with a focus on environmental issues and science topics.
- Janet Greene, Frankford Middle School, Plano ISD, who teaches math. As the math department chairperson, she works with the school's "at risk" students, engaging struggling learners and gently leading them toward success.
- Eyona P. Lewis, Harold Lang Middle School, Dallas ISD, who teaches science. The H.W. Lang Science Department, under Lewis' leadership, made great academic strides with the 2008-2009 TAKS scores jumping 13 points from 2007-2008.
- Deborah Maner, Townview School for the Talented and Gifted, Dallas ISD, who teaches high school chemistry and physics. Maner is the moderator of the school's science team, robotics team and its Academic Decathlon team. Her principal says she is "the living definition of the word 'teacher.'"
- Jeff Martin, Moises E. Molina High School, Dallas ISD, who teaches multimedia and website design and content. As an experienced professional in the design programs he teaches, Martin strives to show students relevant applications for the skills they learn. He assumes the role of "facilitator of learning," allowing his students to build websites and to become animators, designers and programmers as they work with multimedia.
- Julie Rasmuson, Skyline High School, Dallas ISD, who teaches Pre-AP biology and AP environmental science. Committed to promoting student success, Rasmuson is energetic, hard working and dynamic, making classes exciting and fulfilling.
- Karen Shepherd, Plano Senior High School, Plano ISD, who teaches AP biology and advanced research and design. Shepherd spends many weekends sponsoring students at science fairs and symposia across the state and country. Her students regularly take first place, and many have also competed at the international level. She is the science department chairperson and one of the original developers of the advanced research and design course for Plano ISD.
- Jason M. Wallace, Warren Travis White High School, Dallas ISD, who teaches biology and anatomy and physiology. Wallace's integration and command of technology in his classroom has allowed for a generation of students to enter into a world where they remain engaged.
These honorees will join the 30 other inductees from 2007, 2008 and 2009. The STEM Awards and Academy are one of many initiatives of the TI Foundation, which has played a leadership role in driving innovative education programs for decades.
"Education is our primary philanthropic focus – principally, how we can enhance STEM education and support effective teachers," Self said. "We are committed to recognizing and nurturing excellent teachers who are making a positive impact by enhancing student achievement in STEM disciplines."
About the Texas Instruments Foundation
The Texas Instruments Foundation, founded in 1964, is a non-profit organization providing philanthropic support for educational and charitable purposes primarily in the communities where Texas Instruments operates.
Committed to supporting educational excellence, the foundation works to create measurable, replicable programs and initiatives. The focus is on providing knowledge, skills and programs to improve STEM education and increase the percentage of high school graduates who are math and science capable.
SOURCE Texas Instruments Incorporated