Toyota USA Foundation, SMU, DISD to Collaborate on West Dallas STEM School With $2M Grant

The collaboration on the new school is the result of many requests from the community for STEM offerings within the Pinkston High School feeder pattern in West Dallas to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.

A $2 million grant from Toyota USA Foundation will enable a collaboration between the foundation, the Dallas ISD, and Southern Methodist University to create a new, innovative STEM-focused school in West Dallas aimed at preparing today’s students for the jobs of tomorrow.

The new school will begin a phased opening beginning fall 2021, according to a release.

This collaboration came about because of many requests from the community for STEM offerings within the Pinkston High School feeder pattern, Toyota Foundation said.

“STEM jobs are the wave of the future, and Toyota and SMU’s contribution is a major investment in shaping the next generation.”
Michael Hinojosa

“This partnership advances our efforts currently underway in west Dallas, with a holistic approach that lifts the community and provides opportunity for students,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said in the release.  “Evidence-based education is the foundation for everything we do in the Simmons School, and we look forward to the opportunity to provide resources and research that underscore the success of the school.”

The foundation said the aim of the school is to use a project-based and business-aligned curricula to prepare students for the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs.

DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa called the collaboration a unique public-private partnership.

“STEM jobs are the wave of the future, and Toyota and SMU’s contribution is a major investment in shaping the next generation,” Hinojosa said in the release. “This is a significant shift in education, and we’re grateful to these incredible partners.”

SMU WILL DEVELOP STEM CURRICULUM FOR NEW SCHOOL

The foundation said it is granting the $2 million to SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, which will develop curricula, advise on state-of-the-art educational practices, provide professional development for teachers, coordinate nonprofits operating in the area, and monitor and evaluate the program, the release said.

Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD), Toyota USA Foundation and SMU have joined together to collaborate on the creation of a new and innovative STEM-focused school in west Dallas. (PRNewsfoto/Toyota USA Foundation)

DISD will operate and staff the planned school, and the district’s Office of Transformation and Innovation will co-facilitate the design of the school in collaboration with school leadership, the release said.

The partnership also will include nonprofits that already are working with DISD via the SMU Simmons School program, The School Zone, as well as Plano-based Toyota Motor North America and Toyota Financial Services’ partners to tackle community issues such as nutrition, literacy, transportation, and after–school care.

“Collectively, our goal is to create a brighter future for students, help families become more resilient, and create a community and school model that can be replicated,” Toyota USA Foundation President Mike Goss said. “We want to help increase access to opportunity, connecting students to the millions of STEM jobs that exist today, and the many more that will be created as industry advances.” 

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