'Crack the code' to computer science with Code Iowa
Students at Lincoln Elementary School in Cedar Falls completed the "Hour of Code" alongside more than 450 other Iowa schools and organizations during last year's Code Iowa effort.
It takes just one hour. That is all that Code.org needs to inspire millions of students around the globe with computer coding each year during the "Hour of Code." The internationally-known non-profit uses free online programming with game-like features, popular cartoons and fun to spark student interest and awareness in computer science.
According to statistics provided by Code.org, Iowa currently has nearly 4,500 open computing jobs with only 358 computer science graduates to fill them, which is a demand 3.1 times higher than the average demand of other states across the nation.
With a second year of support from Google, the STEM Council launched another season of Code Iowa, which works in partnership with Code.org to help change that statistic, localize Code.org's efforts to Iowa and encourage every student to try at least one hour of computer coding during Computer Science Education Week December 7-13, 2015.
"Google has grown tremendously in the last 17 years with the help of a talented workforce that is interested and educated in the computer science realm," said Chris Russell, Google Council Bluffs Data Center Manager. "With a data center in Council Bluffs, Google is committed to help grow Iowa's workforce needed to fill the computer science-related jobs in our facilities, as well as those roles across the state."
Last December, more than 450 Iowa schools took part in the "Hour of Code" and six schools--one in each of the six STEM regions--received either a $10,000 technology award from Code.org or one of five $4,000 technology awards from the STEM Council thanks to a $20,000 gift from Google.
This year, schools that plan to participate during Computer Science Education Week can submit a proposal to Code.org and the STEM Council to be eligible for the technology awards. Interested schools must create a plan on how they will organize every student to do the "Hour of Code" at their school at www.IowaSTEM.gov/CodeIowa by November 16, 2015.

November 2-3, 2015
Iowa School Counselors Association (ISCA) Conference
*Exhibiting--Come find us!

November 6, 2015
SE Regional Pre-Service STEM Teachers Conference
More Information

November 8, 2015

Poweshiek County STEM Festival
1:00-4:00 p.m.
Brooklyn, Iowa
Link to Register

November 12, 2015
Cedar Valley STEM Festival
4:00-7:30 p.m.
Waterloo, Iowa
More Information

November 18-19, 2015
Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) Conference
*Exhibiting--Come find us!

Operations Center
Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council
University of Northern Iowa
214 East Bartlett
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0298

PHONE 319-273-2959

Gaining ground on the STEM endorsement

Three STEM endorsements are now operational in Iowa for K-8, 5-8 and K-12 STEM specialist.
Teachers and teacher candidates in Iowa now have the option of picking up an endorsement to teach STEM thanks to a collaborative effort of the STEM Council and the Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE).
Currently, three institutions, Grand View University, Drake University and St. Ambrose University, have operationalized the pathway with a dozen more colleges and universities working to hatch programs. Thirty-five representatives of 20 higher education institutions alongside representatives of the Iowa Department of Education and the BOEE convened at St. Ambrose University in early October to temperature check on challenges to roll out. Limitations, such as the lack of engineering courses or integrated STEM methodology courses, became opportunities for collaboration as faculty from across institutions compared notes and committed to sharing.
STEM minors, masters and makerspaces funneling into STEM endorsement paths are in development while the STEM Council's design committee continues to advise the BOEE on fidelity to intent of the new endorsement. Two hallmark examples of that intent were highlighted at the meeting: new, integrated STEM content and methods courses rather than re-purposed existent courses, as well as authentic 30-hour STEM experiences for candidates.
Teachers equipped to integrate the subjects in an active, investigative, community-linked classroom environment are the end goal of the endorsement, which will complement the innovative STEM BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) model sweeping Iowa. For more information about the STEM endorsement, send an e-mail to [email protected].

Twelve more business-education partnerships set to innovate 

Northeast Community School District created a new space for its STEM BEST program awarded in 2014 that has allowed students to connect with local businesses and work in collaborative environments.
The Iowa STEM network that has helped nurture, grow and establish four STEM Redesigned Learning Environments (RLE) and five STEM Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers (BEST) models in the state during the last two years has now awarded 12 more of these business-education partnership prototypes in Iowa.
From Mt. Pleasant Middle School's STEM RLE made up of collaborative workstations and touch-screen monitors to Rock Valley's student-run, "Rocket Manufacturing" STEM BEST program that makes real products, both current models transform the typical K-12 classroom environments and methods to unite business and education and develop clear pathways from STEM education to STEM careers in the state.
Last week, the STEM Council's Executive Committee voted unanimously to award and support 12 of 22 proposed partnerships that bring to the table a total cost-share commitment of $630,628. The $300,000 STEM Council investment made possible through a combination of state and private sector funds is divided equally among these 12 awardees to purchase equipment and provide teacher training:
  • Charles City Community School District - North Central STEM Region - STEM BEST
  • Lincoln Intermediate School - North Central STEM Region - STEM RLE
  • Dubuque Community School District - Northeast STEM Region - STEM RLE
  • North Tama County Community School District - Northeast STEM Region - STEM RLE
  • Carroll High School - Northwest STEM Region - STEM RLE
  • Western Christian High School - Northwest STEM Region - STEM RLE
  • Albia Community School District - South Central STEM Region - STEM RLE
  • Hoover High School - South Central STEM Region - STEM BEST
  • Davenport Community School District - Southeast STEM Region - STEM BEST
  • West Branch Community School District - Southeast STEM Region - STEM RLE
  • Corning Elementary School - Southwest STEM Region - STEM RLE
  • Hamburg Community School District - Southwest STEM Region - STEM RLE
Some of this year's models will allow students to intern at STEM companies in Iowa like DuPont Pioneer and Valent BioSciences Corporation, conduct research alongside university professionals and develop stronger communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking in transformative environments that use large TV monitors, group workstations, one-to-one technologies and more to teach these STEM skillsets.
Each selected program submitted an in-depth proposal that addressed criteria, such as quality business partnerships, applied curriculum and effective professional development. The programs each bring unique strengths and will serve as models of educational innovation for others across the state.
Congratulations to our new partners in learning innovation--Iowa's own Magellens of educational exploration. To learn more about these models, visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/STEMRLE or www.IowaSTEM.gov/STEMBEST.

MVP for Iowa STEM: Valerie Newhouse  

Valerie Newhouse, president of Iowa Lakes Community College, has served on the STEM Council since the beginning and works as the principal investigator for the Northwest STEM Region's hub institution.
This month's MVP for Iowa STEM is a true leading lady in "STEM for all," powering momentum behind local, regional and statewide STEM efforts through various roles on and off the STEM Council.
Valerie Newhouse has led Iowa Lakes Community College for the last seven years, sharing some of her tenure as a valued and original STEM Council member who brings a higher education perspective from the community college sector.
"The STEM Council itself focuses its programming on Pre-K through 12 because we have a need for students to be prepared as they enter workforce or pursue higher education," Newhouse said. "I serve to communicate with the rest of the STEM Council what works and what doesn't as students are entering at the community college level."
During the early years, her professional role and her STEM Council role had the opportunity to overlap when the STEM Council selected Iowa Lakes Community College as the Northwest STEM Regions' hub institution. As one of six hub institutions strategically located in each of the Iowa STEM Network regions, Iowa Lakes Community College houses the Northwest Regional STEM Manager Molly Faber who serves the entire Northwest STEM Region on behalf of the STEM Council. Newhouse is the hub's principal investigator who collaborates with the regional STEM manager to connect with the appropriate audiences in their region.
"Serving as a regional STEM hub institution is one of the most exciting things we've done because it has put a spotlight on northwest rural Iowa, and we've been in the forefront helping to facilitate the growth of STEM that is important to our region," Newhouse said.
It was the perfect fit for Newhouse and her community college since their STEM efforts began several years before the STEM Council sprouted from Governor Branstad's executive order in 2011. Newhouse says the college started a STEM committee in the mid-2000's that included faculty members from their mathematics and science departments. Those early efforts led to a number of current programs, including an annual STEM camp for middle school students to explore STEM careers and educational pathways alongside college professors. It's caused Newhouse to notice a transformation on her campus.
"It's neutralized the genders," Newhouse said. "We don't see as many males versus females wanting to attend our STEM events anymore. We see as many young ladies interested and excited about STEM, and I think that will translate in a few years into more females in STEM careers."
With that, we congratulate Valerie Newhouse on her success in helping move forward the priorities of the STEM Council. Our progress is made possible by the contributions of her and all of our outstanding STEM Council members listed at www.IowaSTEM.gov/Council.