Stakeholders celebrate one-year anniversary of rolling out West Dallas STEM School project

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Representatives from Dallas ISD, Toyota and Southern Methodist University (SMU) celebrated the one-year anniversary of a public-private partnership to develop a STEM-focused school in West Dallas.

The school will begin a phased opening beginning fall 2021.

“It is something that our community deserves, and the fact that we’re doing it in West Dallas and that we’re including the West Dallas community in this project is even more powerful,” Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said at the one-year aniversarry celebration held near SMU.

Toyota USA Foundation is granting $2 million to SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, which will develop curricula, advise on state-of-the-art educational practices, provide professional development for teachers, coordinate nonprofits operating in the area, and monitor and evaluate the program.

Dallas ISD will operate and staff the future school. The Office of Transformation and Innovation will co-facilitate the design of the school in collaboration with Dallas ISD leadership.

“We’re so fortunate to be in partnership with Toyota and SMU, who are committed to providing valuable STEM possibilities for the young people in West Dallas,” said Angie Gaylord, deputy chief of Transformation and Innovation. “Not only are we launching a new school and redesigning a neighborhood middle school through this collaboration, but we’re fostering an educational ecosystem in this area that will serve future generations for decades to come.”

The collaboration will also bring together nonprofits–including groups already working with Dallas ISD through the SMU Simmons School program–The School Zone, Toyota Motor North America and Toyota Financial Services’ partners. Together they will address community issues such as literacy, nutrition, transportation and afterschool care.

“We noticed that Dallas ISD, SMU and several local non-profit organizations had focused their resources to uplift the West Dallas neighborhood,” Michael Medalla, manager at Toyota USA Foundation. “Toyota wanted to contribute to that good work to improve academic opportunities for students in West Dallas and connect them to good jobs in the area.”

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