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Hewlett Packard Example

Key Features

Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, with divisions and facilities spread across the U.S. and Canada, Hewlett-Packard has been a corporate leader in education for many years. In terms of science education for children, HP’s efforts have become decidedly hands-on, inquiry-oriented, and systemic since the beginning of the company’s “Hands-on Science” grants program in 1992. This program brings HP’s vision for science education reform to public school districts in communities where HP employees and their families live.

As of 1997, 29 teams representing 45 school districts in eight states serving more than 235,000 K-6 students have received three-year $90,000 grants from HP to develop and implement “hands-on,” inquiry-based science education programs in their elementary schools. HP employees are involved in a variety of ways, including through a program called “Science Partners.”

HP Science Partners are HP employee volunteers who work in K-12 schools in their local communities. Several volunteer roles are possible, including working collaboratively with teachers to bring relevant and exciting science learning experiences to students in the classroom, working with teachers in professional development workshops, providing “distance” technical support by phone and e-mail, and engaging in materials refurbishment--helping elementary school teachers to have fully equipped kits with which to teach hands-on, inquiry-based science.

HP’s success is measurable. Using annual site visits and a scoring rubric developed at Lesley College, HP has been able to show how their partner districts have moved from textbooks to modular hands-on science curriculum supported by materials replenishment systems, professional development of teachers, appropriate assessment, and administrative and community support.

Another indication of success is the HP-led Bay Area Schools for Excellence in Education Project (BASEE), which received a five-year, $5.4-million Local Systemic Change grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant allows for science professional development in eight HP Hands-On Science Program districts in Silicon Valley.

HP also provides funding and other support to programs in other subject areas, including reading and mathematics, and to pre-school programs and postsecondary institutions. In l996, 75% of HP’s $72-million philanthropic fund was focused on K-12 and university education.

Becoming Involved

  • Scientists employed by HP have several options for serving the schools in their communities. Their school districts may be eligible or interested in becoming eligible for Hands-on Science grants. Individual scientists may be interested in becoming Science Partners. Involvement in the Science Partners program is formally recognized by the company as legitimate, paid work-release time.

  • Scientists employed by other companies like HP can encourage their firms to examine the HP model for involvement in science, mathematics, and reading education reform. HP’s greatest innovations have been in the pre-K and K-6 grades. HP is just beginning an experiment with bringing K-12 and postsecondary science and math education closer together in its new Diversity in Education program.

  • School systems and individual schools interested in receiving assistance from private corporations in their localities or states can examine the HP model.


Goals and Scope.

HP’s overall education vision is

  • to help students be prepared to succeed in the workforce of the future by making math and science exciting and meaningful.
  • to give all students the opportunity to succeed.
  • to help every child enter school ready to learn.

Specific HP goals are to improve significantly science and mathematics achievement and to increase the number of females and minorities studying and teaching science and mathematics.

To achieve its goals, HP has been trying to influence the adoption of K-12 science education standards in several states, including California. HP employees are active members of state education commissions and are encouraged by the company to run for local school board offices. HP also tries to form or continue partnerships with organizations that have expertise and can add value to HP’s philanthropy programs. This effort includes alliances with such groups as the National Science Resources Center (NSRC), which provides leadership training to school district teams. HP corporate leaders feel that such alliances bring credibility to their programs and prevent them from having to reinvent certain wheels.

HP also provides direct support for schools through employee volunteers and HP contributions.

Employee Participation Support. Through a formal release-time policy, local HP managers are encouraged to provide HP employee-volunteers with 4 hours per month of paid time off to participate in HP-sponsored partnerships with schools, such as Science Partners. Since the policy was instituted in 1993, over 3,500 employees have used company “release time” to volunteer in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Employee Product Gift Program. In 1996, HP employees and the company together donated over $2-million in products to over 400 K-12 schools. Employees contribute 25% of the list price, and HP absorbs the remaining 75%. Hundreds of PCs, printers, and scanners are provided to schools through this program each year.

Hands-on Science Grants. HP’s $90,000 Hands-on Science grants are provided on a competitive basis to applying school districts in communities where HP employees and their families live. Each grant spans a three-year period. Evaluations have indicated that the program successfully moves partner school districts to modular hands-on science curriculum supported by materials replenishment systems, professional development of teachers, appropriate assessment, and administrative and community support.


Middle School Pilot. As students graduate from HP Hands-on elementary school programs, there is increased demand for improvement in middle- and high-school programs. In 1997, HP launched a pilot to extend HP support to the middle- and high-school programs at all HP grant sites in Colorado and one site in California. West Ed, a Research and Development lab of the U.S. Department of Education, is working with HP on this effort. Recently, the HP contributions board agreed to fund a second year of the middle-school/high-school program at the level of $150,000.


HP Science Partners. As part of the initial process under HP’s Hands-on Science Grants, the HP Science Partners Program recruits HP scientists on a volunteer basis to help their local school districts and the teachers plan a K-6 elementary science program that is hands-on and inquiry-oriented. In some instances, such as in Corvallis, Oregon, recruitment of HP volunteers isn’t necessary: individual HP scientists have been known to lead the way in encouraging their local school systems to apply for an HP grant.


New Initiatives. In 1997, HP committed $4-million over five years to a new Diversity in Education Initiative and funded four university and K-12 school partnerships that begin or expand effective programs serving African American, American Indian, Latino, and female students.

Students in the program will be engaged in science and math from kindergarten to the time they graduate from college. Students and educators will be linked across all grade levels and supported by a number of HP departments.


HP School District Contacts. There are lead Science Partners for most of the schools working with HP to improve their science education programs. Go to the Details for HP School District Contacts names and phone numbers.


Chronology of the HP Model for Corporate Involvement. Go to Details for a look at how the HP model for corporate involvement developed.


Organizational Information and Contacts. See Details for key contact names and phone numbers within HP.


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