PITTSBURGH -- The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) announced a major expansion of its College Readiness Program in western Pennsylvania schools with an investment of $26 million from ExxonMobil, made on behalf of its XTO Energy Inc. subsidiary. The three-year program empowers school communities to improve participation and success in rigorous coursework to better prepare students for college and the STEM-intensive careers of the 21st century. NMSI will partner with approximately 40 schools across the region over the next several years to enhance teacher effectiveness and student performance in the core subjects of math, science and English.
"Access to a high-quality education can be critical to a student's academic growth and their future success," said Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera, who participated in the program expansion announcement at West Allegheny High School near Pittsburgh. "As the commonwealth works together to invest in students and Schools that Teach, the College Readiness Program is a standout model of how public schools, innovative educational organizations and committed businesses can partner to ensure that the next generation of scientific, business and civic leaders are prepared to succeed."
NMSI's College Readiness Program has proven to dramatically increase the number of students taking and earning qualifying scores on Advanced Placement® (AP®) exams using a comprehensive approach that provides extensive training for teachers, more time on task for students, and equipment and supplies to support AP coursework. In just one year, the program boosts the number of AP qualifying scores in math, science and English in partner schools by 10 times the national average, while producing outstanding gains among female and minority students – two groups that are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. To date, the College Readiness Program has reached more than 1,000 schools across 34 states.
"The College Readiness Program is raising the academic bar in Pennsylvania and across the nation," said Gregg Fleisher, president of NMSI. "We're grateful that companies like ExxonMobil realize the value of STEM education and are committed to ensuring that our future workforce is better equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful."
Fleisher emphasized that AP is one of the most powerful tools for preparing students for the demands of college-level work and a rapidly changing workforce.
Mike Johnson, vice president of XTO Energy's Appalachia Division, praised the program's achievements.
"A strong education today is the key to empowering our young people to be the business leaders of tomorrow," Johnson said. "Skills in math and science are especially critical to our nation's economic success, and investments to sharpen those skills remain a major priority for ExxonMobil and XTO Energy. We are proud that nearly 60,000 Pennsylvania high school students will be more prepared for the rigors of college and careers than ever before."
Government officials, local business and civic leaders, higher education representatives and teachers gathered this afternoon for an event announcing the expansion. Hosted by West Allegheny High School principal Kevin McKiernan, officials at the event recognized the hard work of local educators and highlighted the need for community leaders to raise matching funds to reach every high school across the state in future years.
"I'm grateful that the National Math and Science Initiative, ExxonMobil and XTO Energy are making a positive contribution to Pennsylvania's schools," noted Rivera. "Our students will be more prepared to lead the commonwealth into the future thanks to their commitment."
Nine Pennsylvania schools have participated in CRP since 2013. Schools that began the College Readiness Program between 2013-2016 include: Brashear High School; Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy; Allderice High School; Carrick School; CAPA 6-12; Chartiers Valley High School; Deer Lakes High School; Peters Township High School; West Allegheny High School.
New schools joining the program in 2016-2017 include: Burrell High School; Chartiers-Houston High School; Kiski Area High School; McGuffey High School; Penn Hills High School; Ringgold High School; Trinity Area High School.
SOURCE National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI)