In 2011 the NAPE Education Foundation received a major grant from the Texas Instruments Foundation to manage and expand the impact of the highly successful High-Tech High Heels (HTHH) program. This program was founded in 2001 by 30 Texas Instruments (TI) women executives who – concerned with the low number of women graduating with technology-related degrees – made personal contributions to fund development of the program.
Since 2003, HTHH has been effectively preparing girls to pursue STEM degrees by working with both educators and students, primarily in two North Texas school districts (Dallas Independent School District and Plano Independent School District). With TI corporate and foundation grants, HTHH has provided gender equity training for educators, STEM career workshops for counselors, and Advanced Placement (AP) Physics Camps for high school girls. More than 700 girls have attended HTHH’s 2-week camps in Dallas and Plano. In the districts where HTHH has concentrated its efforts, gender equity training was offered to 57 teachers with a focus on physics teachers. Since inception, the annual number of AP Physics tests passed by girls has increased by almost 100, with girls passing 161 tests for college credit in 2010.
A key element for the success of these programs has been the strong partnerships among the business community, secondary and post-secondary education, and other non-profit and foundation organization’s For instance, Dallas County Community College District is hosting the Girls AP Physics Camps for the girls in June 2012 and supporting the camps through funding, staff support, and access to their state-of the-art labs.
In FY 2011- 2012, the NAPE Education Foundation began updating and expanding the HTHH programs (developed by a fund originally called the Women of TI Fund) in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including programs in Dallas, Richardson and Plano Independent School Districts. For the teacher-training program, the Foundation plans to standardize and enhance the curriculum, provide on-line as well as face-to-face training, and create a virtual learning community that supports teacher collaboration and innovation. In addition, HTHH will benefit from the Foundation’s flagship program, the Program Improvement Process for Equity in STEM (PIPE STEM), which will enhance the HTHH programs through access to NAPE’s extensive expertise, networks, and resources for use in the classroom.
While the NAPE Education Foundation will manage and expand the HTHH programs as part of its growth strategy, there will be no change to the HTHH Fund founded by the women of TI. The HTHH Fund will remain in place as a donor-advised fund at the Dallas Women’s Foundation to support programs to encourage and prepare girls to pursue degrees in STEM fields.
Funding provided by Bell Helicopter, Communities Foundation of Texas, Dallas Women’s Foundation—High Tech High Heels Funds, Dallas Women’s Foundation—Laura Blocker Funds, Dallas Women’s Foundation—Sandra Washburn Funds, Dallas Women’s Foundation—Texas Instruments, Dallas Women’s Foundation—Texas Instruments Corporate, Harold Simmons Foundation, The Fluor Foundation, Texas Instruments Foundation, and Carolyn Tobin.