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By Richard Tapia, CRPC Director of Human Resources and Education

Educational outreach programs such as those sponsored by the CRPC are valuable and effective ways to train and inspire members of the K-12 educational community. But to be truly successful, these programs' impact should be designed to reach far beyond their immediate participants. This is why the CRPC targets several programs to K-12 teachers rather than directly to students. The teachers can then leverage their knowledge and ultimately reach thousands of other teachers and students in their communities and beyond.

The CRPC's GirlTECH program is a prime example of a program that has quickly leveraged the training of a few participants to significantly impact the greater K-12 community. GirlTECH began in 1995 with two master teachers who taught 20 "TECH" teachers how to use the Internet, publish and share lessons electronically, and consider gender and minority equity issues in the classroom. The TECH teachers used this knowledge to train 100 others, and members of this larger group have since reached more than 1,000 teachers through presentations at in- services, conferences, communications over the Internet, books, and newsletters. In 1996, three master teachers, graduates of GirlTECH '95, trained 20 more teachers who are also impacting their school districts in significant ways. An estimated 30,000 students have benefitted from the program so far.

The teachers are also making career advancements and expanding their influence into new areas. Nine of the 20 GirlTECH '95 TECH teachers were promoted to education technology leadership positions at their schools. Houston-area high school teachers Steve Simmons and Stacey Baxter- Rienstra, GirlTECH '95 participants, have presented Internet and computer-oriented workshops to more than 500 teachers and are winning local and national accolades for incorporating computer technology into their classrooms. They received GTE's Growth Initiatives for Teachers (GIFT) Grant, which they used to design the IM SMART project to integrate mathematics and science into the freshman curriculum at their school. Simmons was recently awarded a Toyota TAPESTRY Grant, one of 80 in the United States, to continue the IM Smart program during the 1996- 97 school year. In addition, Northern Life presented Simmons with its Education's Unsung Heroes Award, which he will use to further expand the project into next year. Simmons and Rienstra have also started working with Houston Lighting and Power and American Natural Gas Power on the construction of both an electric car and a compressed natural gas car.

Aldine Independent School District program participants Gail Carney, Karen Green, and Judy Woods have completed a proposal to bring Internet connections into their schools, and one GirlTECH teacher in the Beaumont Independent School District, Georgia Louviere, is single-handedly putting her school and her district on the Web. Program Manager Cynthia Lanius, GirlTECH '95 master teacher Siva Kumari, GirlTECH '96 master teacher Susan Boone, and many others have published math and science lessons on the Internet that are being referenced in books and online publications and heavily accessed by teachers worldwide.

GirlTECH is just one of several CRPC educational outreach programs that use leveraging to reach great numbers of educators and students. Click for information on all CRPC education programs.

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