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TI Foundation inducts 10 teachers into its STEM Academy


Award recognizes local educators who improve student achievement in science, technology, engineering and math

DALLAS . - Underscoring its commitment to promoting the effective teaching of math and science, the Texas Instruments (TI) Foundation is presenting awards today to 10 teachers from the Dallas, Plano and Richardson independent school districts (ISD) and inducting them into its Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy as fellows.

The TI Foundation established the Innovations in STEM Awards in 2006 to honor instructors at the secondary level who consistently demonstrate quality instruction, enhance student achievement and increase interest in the STEM disciplines. As STEM fellows, the teachers participate in a unique professional development program at TI that provides an up-close look at the future of technology, exposure to senior technology leaders, and the opportunity to share their ideas about quality STEM education with peers. The award recipients also each receive $10,000, of which $5,000 is directly awarded to the teacher. The other $5,000 is to be used at the teacher’s discretion for professional development or instructional technology.

The grants are awarded through the Richardson ISD Tomorrow Foundation, the Plano ISD Education Foundation and the Dallas Education Foundation. “Science, technology, engineering and math skills are core subjects crucial to remaining competitive and succeeding in today’s high-tech economy,” said Sam Self, chairman of the TI Foundation board of directors. “These awards acknowledge effective teaching, and we hope other educators will be motivated to cultivate interest in and build excitement for these disciplines among their students.”

Since the Innovations in STEM Awards program began, participating districts have seen a 100 percent STEM Fellow retention rate as compared to estimates elsewhere that range from 67 to 85 percent.

Principals nominated teachers for the STEM awards based on criteria, such as demonstrating and documenting teaching effectiveness, establishing classroom innovation, participating in education activities outside of the classroom, encouraging curiosity and generating excitement in STEM subjects among students.

The 10 award recipients are:

* Daniel Brown, Hillcrest High School, Dallas ISD, who teaches high school science. Brown is a Gender Equity Specialist, having trained hundreds of teachers in STEM fields to be aware of and counter gender bias in the classroom. The number of students enrolled in AP science classes has doubled since his arrival on campus.
* Natalie Buxkemper, Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, Dallas ISD, who teaches eighth-grade math. Buxkemper serves as the school department math chair and was named Irma Rangel’s 2008-09 Teacher of the Year.
* Kevin Cieszkowski, Berkner STEM Academy, Richardson ISD, who teaches pre-AP physics. Cieszkowski co-founded the Berkner Physics Club and has served as a district-wide trainer on how to incorporate hands-on demonstrations in Integrated Physics and Chemistry in physics classrooms.
* Dr. Michael Gayles, North Dallas High School, Dallas ISD, who teaches high school science. Dr. Gayles integrates technology to enhance understanding, and he incorporates storytelling to help motivate his students and reinforce concepts.
* Dr. Nancy Mack, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Dallas ISD, who teaches high school video technology and communication graphics. Dr. Mack serves as the career and technology department chairperson and has been recognized as an outstanding teacher leader.
* Michele Poovey, Frankford Middle School, Plano ISD, who teaches sixth-grade science. Poovey encourages critical thinking, creative expressions and questioning. Her philosophy is that facts may be forgotten but the desire and thirst for knowledge and the love of learning last forever, and she seeks to instill that in her students.
* Glenn Samford, Science & Engineering Magnet High School, Dallas ISD, who teaches high school math. Samford has served as an educator ambassador for the DFW Semiconductor and Technology Executive Council, assisting middle and high school teachers in writing lesson plans designed to improve STEM learning.
* Stephanie Schinnerer, Bowman Middle School, Plano ISD, who teaches sixth-grade math and honors math. Schinnerer is involved in the After School Academic Program at Bowman and is part of the Finish Strong Academy that provides extra math support for students.
* Joseph Selvog, Gaston Middle School, Dallas ISD, who teaches eighth-grade science. Selvog tutors and trains aspiring teachers in science content and strategies and is a member of the North Texas Science Collaborative. His ability to introduce science concepts in a fun, interesting and non-threatening way captures his students’ attention and endears them to him.
* Dr. Sardul Singh, Thomas Jefferson High School, Dallas ISD, who teaches high school math and science. Dr. Singh has written district-wide benchmark and semester exams for pre-calculus and pre-AP calculus. Since he arrived on campus two years ago, enrollment in physics has tripled.

These honorees will join the 20 other inductees from 2007 and 2008 who have used their professional development and educational technology funds to attend STEM conferences and to procure classroom tools such as document cameras, projectors, modeling software, interactive whiteboards and graphing calculators.

With investments at all points in the education continuum, TI and the TI Foundation primarily focus on programs that help students at all levels perform in science, technology, engineering and math.


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