The STEM Center of South Texas serves as part of the Region One Education Service Center in Edinburg, Texas. Achieving excellence in the teaching and learning of STEM is at the heart of the Center's efforts. This innovative Center comes at a time when the very structure of STEM education is undergoing a profound change. With rapid globalization and new opportunities as noted by Tony Wagner in his publication The Global Achievement Gap (2008), the role of teachers and administrators must be fundamentally transformed to meet the challenges of the 21st century. STEM education is a transdisciplinary, project-based approach to revitalizing the current landscape of educational programs and outreach initiatives. This movement calls upon teachers and administrators to be adaptable, flexible, and sensitive to the rapid changes in their communities, the workforce, and the world. Student transitions from K-12 to higher education to workforce must include bridging strategies to reduce the impact of unintentional barriers such as: access among critical demographic sub-populations (at-risk, hispanic, low socio economic, English learners, and students with disabilities), attainment (availability of college-level courses via dual enrollment dual credit programs), and achievement (access to credit-bearing courses via college and career readiness instruments such as the TSI). Efforts to improve STEM education depend on the quality of an effective teaching force equipped with a transformative mindset. The STEM Center of South Texas is dedicated to preparing the next generation of STEM teachers to help all South Texas high school students achieve their quest for vibrant futures as contributing members and citizens of our communities.The STEM Center of South Texas is a founding member of the Texas STEM Center Coalition. Collectively, the statewide network of T-STEM Centers partner with universities, local education agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations to offer high quality STEM professional development and services to STEM Academies as well as all Texas schools. Together, the coalition is taking steps to transform teaching and learning methods, improve achievement in STEM education, and ensure all students are college-ready, career-ready, and life-ready. Collectively, the T-STEM centers work in partnership to host the annual Texas STEM Conference started in 2007 serving the growing T-STEM, Early College High Schools (ECHS), Pathways in Technology ECHSs (P-TECH), and Industry Cluster Innovative Academies (ICIAs) in the state of Texas.
The STEM Center of South Texas as a founding member of Texas STEM (T-STEM) initiative, is closely affiliated with Educate Texas, a public-private initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas, with a shared vision for all Texas students to graduate from high school ready for college and career success and prepared to be contributing members of their communities. Since 2004, Educate Texas has been a valuable and active regional partner by providing resources targeting underserved communities through an alliance that includes the Texas Education Agency, Office of the Governor, Texas Legislature, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, National Instruments, Greater Texas Foundation, and Meadows Foundation.