Six HISD schools have been awarded a combined $12 million in federal grant funds for new magnet programs that emphasize science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction.
“This is fantastic news for HISD students, and for local taxpayers,” said HISD Superintendent Terry Grier. “We have heard loud and clear from the business community that demand for graduates with a strong foundation of science, technology, engineering and math has never been higher, and that this demand will continue to grow. In addition to strong neighborhood schools, new magnet programs like these make HISD even more competitive as parents and students explore all of the great school choices available to them in our city.”
Magnet School Assistance Program grants, administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, provide funding to districts for up to three years. The awards help school districts bring diverse groups of children together through the use of innovative educational programs, creating more school choices for parents.
“Magnet schools help increase public school options for parents and students in communities across the country,” U.S. Education Secretary Duncan said in a written statement. “These grants will help students gain access to challenging curricula that will help prepare them for college and 21st century careers.”
All six new STEM magnets were designed with themes aligned with local and global industry demands. The magnets are whole-school programs, meaning every student in these schools will benefit from an instructional approach that emphasizes a challenging STEM curriculum. They offer field-based learning experiences, STEM expert lectures and demonstrations, robotics programs at the middle school level, work-based learning for high school students, distance learning, and dual credit coursework through local college partners. Former magnet programs at the schools included in the grant had struggled to draw students.
Two of the six new STEM magnet programs are at middle schools. They are:
- The Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan
- M.C. Williams Middle School (Engineering Academy)
The remaining four STEM magnet programs are at the following high schools:
- Furr High School (The Green School)
- Kashmere High School (Chemical and Process Technology Institute)
- The Energy Institute High School
- South Early College High School (Advanced Technology Institute)
Magnet applications for the 2014–2015 school year will be accepted beginning Nov. 4, and must be submitted no later than Dec. 20, in order to be among the first considered for acceptance.