DALLAS – Schools across Dallas are working to make sure students are college and career ready.
The focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) is making some students stand out across Dallas ISD.
From robotics to calculus, S.T.E.M. has become big business across DISD.
“It's where the future is going to go,” said DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. “Our students need to be prepared for that."
Hinojosa and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins toured several S.T.E.M. programs at several middle and high school campuses on Wednesday. They observed the students in action.
S.T.E.M. programs are allowing Quintanilla Middle School students to tackle technology and physics at an early age.
"These S.T.E.M. classes -- particularly computer science classes in the middle schools -- are a key to success in high school and to great living-wage jobs in coding and computer science for the kids leaving school," Jenkins said.
This urban school district has exceeded state requirements since Dallas ISD began introducing the initiative four years ago. Administrators are describing it as a S.T.E.M. explosion across the city.
"Specifically, I want to do computer science,” said Sanura N’Jaka, a senior at Townview Science and Engineering Magnet. “Every time you click onto a web site, you can see the work that someone's put into it directly."
Students at Townview say possibilities are endless when it comes to S.T.E.M. fields.
"It's just always been a way that explains the world and makes sense to me,” said student Neyva Hernandez.
The S.T.E.M. programs are attracting the attention of technology leaders, like Shinsuke Takahashi of NEC.
The NEC Foundation is investing $250,000 to Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, and its recruiting two interns from the senior class.
“We are preparing kids for jobs that don't even exist,” Hinojosa said.
Dallas ISD staff says seven schools with S.T.E.M. initiatives are becoming collegiate academies. That means students have the ability to get associates degrees as they receive their high school diplomas.
District leaders say they are working to expand S.T.E.M. initiatives in more middle schools over the next three years.