Spring ISD students will soon have access to cutting-edge technology and hands-on learning through a new partnership with ExxonMobil.
The ExxonMobil Foundation and Spring ISD have signed a memorandum of understanding that would establish the partnership that would extend existing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programming in the district.
Dr. Sheneeta White, a STEM Program Manager with ExxonMobil, and Katherine Taylor, a Program Manager with the ExxonMobil Foundation, gave a presentation on Thursday to the district’s Board of Trustees at their regular work session.
“We know that our business is built of innovators, and we know that increasing the pipeline of talent that can come to work with us at ExxonMobil is what we want to do,” Dr. White said. “It’s important to us. And we understand that STEM disciplines are the type of students we want to come and be a part of our organization. So this is really the underpinning of our initiative.”
Spring ISD Superintendent Lupita Hinojosa said this partnership has been in the works for a long time, stemming from the district’s strategic plan to continue to develop innovative programs and to work with community partners.
“We do want to be that example for the world, not just for Texas,” Dr. Hinojosa said. “And I know our students will definitely take great pride in being able to partner with ExxonMobil.”
Included in the STEM initiative’s key priorities would be to establish training for STEM teachers that helps them to better understand and teach STEM topics through working with Khan Academy, an online nonprofit educational organization. In addition, the initiative would connect teachers with universities for in-person training. That is set to begin in summer 2024.
Additionally, the initiative would equip schools with science supplies and materials to further student education.
The initiative would also build tech centers where students can get hands-on experience with STEM activities. These centers would operate throughout the area, with after-school programming for about 150 to 200 high school students at each site. These centers would include mentorships with ExxonMobil employees, healthy meals and snacks for students, transportation to and from the centers, and college admissions and financial aid assistance, as well as scholarships and internships. The pilot centers are set to launch in late 2024. The first will be right outside the ExxonMobil campus in Springwoods Village, and will feature a lounge space, a flexible lab space, a maker space, a 3D printer room, and a “digital garage” that serves as a virtual reality lab.
“We are thrilled to be working with Spring ISD,” Dr. White said. “We are thrilled that you all are early adopters, and that you have been so cooperative and so ready to help us with accomplishing the goals that we both have for the students here in Spring.”