National Math + Science Initiative Blog



Program Improving Student Preparedness Will Expand to Approximately 40 Schools and 60,000 Students 

Today, 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.

 At the announcement event, hosted by West Allegheny High School near Pittsburgh, officials 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.

 “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. “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 president Gregg 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.

 “The College Readiness Program is raising the academic bar in Pennsylvania and across the nation,” said Fleisher. “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.”

 Nine Pennsylvania schools have already seen outstanding results as NMSI partners.  Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy and Brashear High School of Pittsburgh Public Schools were the first schools to join the program in 2013, with support from The Heinz Endowments.  After just one year, they ranked first and second in the state with respect to the percent increase in AP qualifying scores in math and science earned by their students.


In 2015-16, seven additional schools joined the College Readiness Program.  After their first year, those schools saw an average 51 percent increase in qualifying math, science and English AP scores, more than 10 times the average increase across the state.  Moreover, the increase achieved by these seven schools accounted for 25 percent of the entire state of Pennsylvania’s increase in math, science, and English AP qualifying scores across more than 600 high schools. 

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.”

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