The Glossary section provides a list of terms that are used throughout the T-STEM Academy Design Blueprint. As you meet with other academy leaders and T-STEM Coaches, attend professional development events, and speak with the T-STEM Centers, the terms listed in this section will be used frequently. To ensure clarity of the terms, a brief definition accompanies each of the words listed. In addition, some hyperlinks have been added as additional resources for some of the terms listed. If there is a term not listed that you would like further clarification on, please feel free to contact us.

  1. Accelerated (5.1.C)
    Curriculum, instruction, learning, and assessment designed to identify and close gaps in student knowledge base and process application
  2. Achieve Texas

    AchieveTexas is designed to help students (and their parents) make wise education choices. It is based on the belief that the curricula of the 21st century should combine rigorous academics with relevant career education. When schools integrate academic and technical education, students can see the “usefulness” of what they are learning. The system also facilitates a seamless transition from secondary to postsecondary opportunities. This initiative uses the sixteen federally defined Career Clusters of the States’ Career Clusters initiative ( as the foundation for restructuring how schools arrange their instructional programs. A Career Cluster is a grouping of occupations and broad industries based on commonalities. The sixteen Career Clusters provide an organizing tool for schools, small learning communities, academies, and magnet schools. Career programs of study (POS) have been developed for each of the Career Clusters. The POS represent a recommended sequence of coursework based on a student’s interest or career goal.

  3. Achieve Texas STEM Cluster

    Planning, managing, and providing scientific research and professional and technical services (physical science, social science, and engineering) including laboratory and testing services, and research and development services.

  4. Advisory Board

    A recommended Advisory Board consists of representatives from the Academy, school board, district, community, higher education, and STEM businesses. The vision of the Academy Board is to ensure a successful 6th-20th STEM academic and career pipeline. The mission of the Advisory Board is to support and offer input regarding Academy operations such as facility requirements, resource acquisition, curriculum development, internship, externships, and student/community outreach.

  5. Annual Action Plan (AAP)

    Upon completing the T-STEM Blueprint Rubric self-assessment, the Academy annually creates an Annual Action plan that is aligned with the Academy mission and addresses areas for growth as identified in the T-STEM Blueprint self-assessment. The AAP should be regularly monitored and revised with evidence of results recorded. The AAP should include data, PD, literacy, and technology plan elements.

  6. Capstone Project

    A culminating research project and oral and written presentation wherein students apply the skills they have developed in problem definition, issue framing, collection of data and information, interviewing, selection and analyses of alternatives, presentation of findings and recommendations, design of implementation tools, and an analysis of practical and ethical issues. A key component is a review of existing literature related to the project topic. Students find and synthesize research, reports, program materials, and other documents, and present to panels of industry and higher education experts the relevance of key findings for the project and recommendations for future research.

  7. College-Going Culture

    1) understand what it takes to succeed in entry-level college courses; 2) unpack the complexity of the U.S. postsecondary system; 3) preparation a student needs in order to enroll and succeed – without remediation – in credit-bearing general education courses that meet requirements for a baccalaureate degree. “Succeed” is defined as completing entry-level courses at a level of understanding and proficiency sufficient to: 1) pass a subsequent course in the subject area, and 2) apply course knowledge to another subject area.

  8. Culturally Responsive

    Culturally responsive teaching is a research-based teaching method that helps close achievement gaps. Teachers who use culturally responsive instruction recognize students' cultural strengths and experiences and use them as tools to achieve mastery of new knowledge and skills. Inherent in culturally responsive instruction are: 1) curriculum that is both rigorous and relevant to students' lives; and 2) trusting relationships among teachers, students, and families that extend beyond the classroom. A culturally responsive teacher: 1) develops cultural awareness and competency to prevent the norming of whiteness and disconnect for children of color and, 2) helps all children see the relevance and value to their lives in their experiences at school in order to be academically successful. Culturally responsive teachers honor and understand the underlying cultural differences and personal abilities amongst us, and use that knowledge to better engage students in the learning process. Culturally Responsive Teaching. (2006). Multicultural Resource Center, 2(1), 1.

  9. Curriculum Alignment

    Curriculum that is backloaded from the THECB-CCRS and external state and national assessments to ensure vertical and horizontal alignment of content, context, and cognitive levels in the written, taught, and tested curriculum. Aligned curriculum promotes the successful transfer of knowledge, skills, processes, creativity, and innovation to the classroom, state and national assessments, simulated real world (PBL), and the real world.

  10. Customer

     The students, teachers, community, and T-STEM Network.

  11. Customer Service

    A process for capturing student and stakeholder related information.

  12. Design-Based Learning

    Design-based learning (DBL) is a form of project-based learning in which students learn what they need to learn in a just-in-time fashion while trying to design something.

  13. Design Team Sample Roles (DT)

    An Academy in the Planning Phase the design team might include individuals from the T-STEM Academy leadership, district office personnel such as technology, curriculum, advanced academics (GT/AP/IB/Dual Credit), T-STEM Center, T-STEM Coach, school board member, and local industry STEM experts. In an Academy in year two and beyond, the design team and advisory board may merge into one team.

  14. Extension (5.1.C)

    Pre-AP and/or gifted student product, process, content expectations.

  15. Externship

    Externships are experiential learning opportunities, similar to internships, offered by educational institutions and industry to give teachers and or students short practical experiences in their field of study.

  16. Governor’s Economic Workforce Clusters

    Advanced Technologies and Manufacturing, Aerospace and Defense, Biotechnology and Life Sciences, Information and Computer Technology, Petroleum Refining and Chemical Products, and Energy.

  17. High Performing Team

    Teams that use work processes to systematically pursue ever higher levels of overall organizational and individual performance, including quality, productivity, innovation, and accountability. High-performing teams demonstrate results in improved programs and services for students and stakeholders. (2009-2010 Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence, p. 62)

  18. Highly Qualified

    The federal definition of a “Highly Qualified” teacher is one who is: fully certified and/or licensed by the state; holds at least a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution; and demonstrates competence in each core academic subject area in which the teacher teaches.

  19. IGP

    Individualized graduation plan.

  20. IHE

    Institution of Higher Education, including Texas-sanctioned academic and specialty trade schools for high school graduates.

  21. Individual Education Plan

    Students failing to meet expectations on state/district assessments will receive an individualized acceleration plan designed to address their specific areas of growth.

  22. Integrated Content

    Content of one type incorporated into another type. Ex: Curriculum using the concepts and skills from at least two different academic content areas for the authentic study of a multidisciplinary topic, problem, or design challenge.

  23. Integrative STEM Pedagogy

    An approach to teaching and learning that recognizes that individual content areas should not be taught in isolation. Integrative STEM pedagogy incorporates the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics into multiple content areas, and focuses on the integration of the content as evidenced in the real world.

  24. Internship

    Internships are student work experiences in STEM related fields that are linked to a student’s academic coursework, college/career, or capstone interest. They afford opportunities for students to confirm choice of major and/or career while gaining practical work experience. Internships may be done concurrently while a student is carrying a full time academic course load or may be done during the summer.

  25. Job Shadowing

    Job shadowing is a work experience option where students learn about a job by walking through the work day as a shadow to a competent worker. The job shadowing work experience is a temporary, unpaid exposure to the workplace in an occupational area of interest to the student. Students witness firsthand the work environment, employability, occupational skills in practice, the value of professional training, and potential career options. Job shadowing is designed to increase career awareness, help model student behavior through examples, and reinforce in the student the link between classroom learning and work requirements. Job shadowing is limited in that allows students to observe only; direct work experience, responsibility and skills are not acquired. Integration of school and work is implied in job shadowing (Paris & Mason, 1995, p. 47).

  26. Knowledge Assets

    The Academy’s unique intellectual capital or expertise stored in a digital/electronic format. Knowledge assets promote understanding, provide guidance for decision-making, record facts about critical decisions, and create meta-knowledge about how work changes. Ex: team norms, protocols for meetings, conflict resolution protocols, student interventions, Academy brochures, recruitment procedures, culture building activities, student contracts, PBLs, rubrics, etc.

  27. Leadership Team (LT) 1.2.B

    The Academy leadership team is comprised of individuals that play key roles in the internal and external governance of the Academy such as: administrators, counselors, academic deans, team leaders, and campus instructional facilitators/coaches. The leadership team works as collaborative entity to continually improving the design, governance, operations, accountability, curriculum development, professional development, and outreach of the Academy.

  28. Literacy

    The ability to read, write, ask questions, determine answers, and understand, for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity in areas such as: numeracy, reading, writing, global awareness, financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial, technology, civic, health, environmental, information, media, ICT (information, communications and technology).

  29. Mission Statement

    A mission statement defines what an organization is, why it exists, and its reason for being - the organization’s fundamental purpose. A mission statement focuses on a school’s present state while a vision statement focuses on the future of what the organization hopes to become.

  30. Professional Learning Community

    A professional learning community is composed of collaborative teams whose members work interdependently to achieve common goals linked to the purpose of learning. The very essence of a learning community is a focus on and a commitment to the learning of each student (Dufour, Dufour, Eaker, and Many, 2006, p.3). To create a professional learning community, 1) focus on learning rather than teaching, 2) work collaboratively, and 3) hold yourself accountable for results.

  31. Project-Based Learning (PBL)

    T-STEM Project Based Learning (PBL) is an inquiry-based instructional approach, in a real-world context, where students generate the pathways and products that meet defined, standards-based outcomes. PBL allows students to utilize 21st century skills to access and master content. These skills include communication and presentation, organization and time management, research and inquiry, self-assessment and reflections, and group participation and leadership skills.

  32. Relational Knowledge

    Relational knowing (Gallego et al., 2001; Hollingsworth et al., 1993) is another important feature of urban teaching practice that leads to the concept of “we”. That is, the ability to “know-in-relationship” (Hollingsworth et al., 1993), to understand the meaning of the interactions between self and others, supported some teachers in feeling more efficacious in their teaching. Relational knowing helps teachers to learn from the many interactions and collaborations that are part of daily teaching.

  33. Results

    Data showing performance levels, trends, and relevant comparisons for key measures and indicators of organizational performance.

  34. Service Learning

    Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

  35. Stakeholders

    Leadership team, design team, advisory board, and representatives from: school board, community, students, parents, higher education, STEM businesses, T-STEM Centers, T-STEM Coaches.

  36. STEM

    Science – Using inquiry, materials testing, data collection; Technology – intake, processing, ouput (communications); Engineering – engineering design process in projects, problem solving, innovation; Mathematics – symbolic language, analysis, trends.

  37. STEM-Literate

    One understands how STEM can impact the quality of life for an individual, the education community, workforce of the future, the research environment, and public policy actions (Leigh R. Abts, Pd.D., 2008, A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland).

  38. Student Voice

    The individual and collective perspective and actions of young people within the context of learning.

  39. SWOT

    Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.


    The Higher Education Coordinating Board College and Career Readiness Standards

  41. Underrepresented Students

    Students of a particular race, socioeconomic status, or otherwise important social group that has a smaller representation in a sub-portion then it does in the entire sample. Ex: students who have not been fully represented in postsecondary education, such as minority students, first-generation college students, and students of a low socioeconomic background.

  42. Vision Statement

    A desired future state of the organization. The vision describes where the organization is headed, what it intends to be, or how it wishes to be perceived in the future.

  43. 21st Century Skills

    The framework presents a holistic view of teaching and learning that combines a discrete focus on 21st century student outcomes (a blending of specific skills, content knowledge, expertise, and literacies) with innovative support systems to help students master the multi-dimensional abilities required of them in the 21st century.