Fall 2014
Welcome to Iowa's SySTEM Building Newsletter!

Through a grant from the Noyce Foundation, the Iowa Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with the STEM Active Learning Community Partners Committee of the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council, is building a system for high-quality STEM opportunities in out-of-school time programs across Iowa. 

We hope to use this newsletter to further our goal of increasing the number of opportunities for Iowa youth, families, and adults to participate in high quality, active-learning (informal) STEM outside of the traditional school day.

In this quarterly newsletter, you can expect to find afterschool STEM resources, articles, advice, best practices, professional development opportunities, partners and more. Our Noyce SySTEM Building wiki site is another medium through which you can learn about the initiative and find frequent updates. We've recently added several planning tools and program guides to our resource page.

To read an update on what we have been up to so far with this initiative, click here.

You are receiving this Newsletter because you have been associated with one of our Active Learning STEM events in the past. If you have a colleague who would like to receive this news, please have them join here.

We're so glad you're here, and please, if you have something you'd like featured in the newsletter, share it with us!

Thanks for reading!

Indira Blazevic Karic

Iowa Noyce SySTEM Building

515.237.0324 (direct)

515.554.1064 (mobile)




The Newsletter at a Glance


Click on any title here to jump to that section:


STEM Save the Dates

February 19, 2015: STEM Day at the Capitol


March 30, 2015: Annual STEM Summit in Des Moines


April 23-24, 2015: Impact After School Conference at Ramada Tropics Resort and Conference Center (Annual statewide conference for all afterschool professionals, regularly features STEM sessions for the afterschool setting). 


 Mark your calendar, and stay tuned for more details on these events coming soon!

The Proven Impact of STEM in Afterschool!

In July, a report entitled "Examining the Impact of Afterschool STEM Programs" was released by the Afterschool Alliance (national), PEAR (Program in Education, Afterschool, and Resiliency), and the Noyce Foundation, with in-depth details on the proven effectiveness in STEM in out-of-school time programs.
Now, in addition to the full report, a 4-pager (brief summary report) has been released, which gives the crucial highlights from the report in a much more digestible form!
Share it with staff, community partners, parents, funders, and other stakeholders to spread awareness of the importance and effectiveness of quality STEM in afterschool.
Who is your Regional Hub Manager?
Their job is to help YOU do STEM!

Iowa's six STEM Hubs, housed at colleges and universities throughout the state, have tons of activities and resources available to check out for 2-6 week periods. (Check out this sample list of items available at the South Central Hub!)

The Hub Managers, themselves, are also excellent resources and can work with program leaders and staff to select the best tools for their students and their comfort level, as well as provide tips for implementation. They also work hand-in-hand with carrying out the Scale-Up Programs across Iowa.

This network is set up as a key element in the Governor's STEM Advisory Council strategy, and can be a valuable resource to any program in any part of the state.

To learn more, contact your STEM Hub Manager today!

STEM After School Guidebook

This free guidebook from The After-School Corporation contains information, ideas and resources that can help you design a science program that matches your kids' needs and interests and fits within your program. The resources described here can help you increase student engagement in science using methods specifically designed for afterschool settings.

Read more and download a copy for free, here!

Build Math and Problem Solving Skills with UMIGO! 

Through fun, vibrant stories, songs and games, UMIGO (You Make It Go) provides early elementary age children with the developmental foundations that will help them learn and master critical early math skills, as well as become active learners, critical thinkers and problem solvers.


Funded in part by a Ready To Learn Grant from the US Department of Education, and guided by a curriculum team of highly respected educators, UMIGO empowers children to use math to help them find ways to overcome problems and achieve goals. 


Explore UMIGO at http://www.umigo.com. We'll be eager to hear from anyone who uses this resource!


Coding for Kids

A recent edition of ExtendED Notes' Note of the Week featured some excellent ideas for apps and software that can be used to teach coding and programming to kids - in a very fun way!

Check out these easy-to-use programs that youth can use to start building their computer science skills:

And for even more information, read this edSurge article on teaching kids to code!


Join the STEM Active Learning Community Today!

A vital role for fulfilling the goal of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council is served by Iowa's informal STEM Education community made up of over 150 groups and organizations that deliver STEM education outside the formal school day.  Join today to share resources, gain professional development, and find your STEM peers. 


Register here to impact the STEM Active Learning Community in Iowa!    

Iowa Joins STEM Mentoring Initiative


On September 24th, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds announced that Iowa is joining the Million Women Mentors movement, with the goal of engaging the participation of 5,000 men and women across Iowa who work in STEM fields to mentor girls and young women and increase their interest in pursuing STEM careers.

Visit Iowa's Million Women Mentors website if you'd like to learn more and get involved!
For general questions, please contact:
Jillsa Aringdale, Expanded Learning AmeriCorps VISTA
Iowa Afterschool Alliance
2910 Westown Pkwy, Suite 302
West Des Moines, IA 50266
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