JANUARY 2016 MONTHLY NEWS
Scaling the best of STEM
to young Iowans

Sixth-graders at Lewis Central Middle School in Council Bluffs enjoy Engineering is Elementary, one of 11 programs offered to educators and their students on the 2016-17 STEM Scale-Up Program menu.
The launch of the STEM Scale-Up Program is the most significant annual undertaking by the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council's operations team. This month marks the start of a rollout of the best of STEM to more than 100,000 Iowan students with the support of a couple thousand educators. These educators, who apply and ultimately implement a program off the STEM Scale-Up Program menu, include PreK-12 teachers, after-school club leaders, daycare providers and other active learning community members.
 
Results from the 2014-2015 Iowa STEM evaluation report show all grade levels of students who participated in the STEM Scale-Up Program scored an average of six percentage points higher in National Percentile Rank on the Iowa Assessments in both mathematics and science compared to students statewide. The higher test scores are, in turn, leading 9 out 10 students to develop a stronger interest in at least one STEM subject or career. On top of that, more than 75 percent of past educators continue their program after the STEM Council's financial support ends, inspiring students for years to come.

Now, the 2016-17 Scale-Up Program menu has debuted, ranging
from building robots and coding programs to conducting agricultural field experiences and learning about STEM careers. All 11 selected programs underwent a competitive review process, proving an appeal to diverse youth, a demonstrated success in improving academic performance, fostering business-education partnerships and more.
 
It's a simple philosophy: Find what works, deliver it across Iowa and fuel the STEM workforce pipeline in Iowa. Educators interested in bringing the best of STEM to their learners may apply until March 1 at www.IowaSTEM.gov/2016-17-Scale-Up.

UPCOMING EVENTS
February 20, 2016
STEM FEST
9:00 A.M.-3:30 P.M.
Dordt College
Sioux Center, IA
More Information

February 23, 2016
IHCC-Ottumwa STEM Festival
5:00-7:00 P.M.
Indian Hills Community College
Ottumwa, IA
More Information

February 23, 2016
Cedar Rapids Family STEM Festival
4:00-8:00 P.M.
Cedar Rapids Public Library
Cedar Rapids, IA
More Information

March 1, 2016
STEM Scale-Up Program educator applications due
More Information


CONTACT
STEM Council
Operations Center
University of Northern Iowa
214 East Bartlett
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0298
www.IowaSTEM.gov
PHONE 319-273-2959
E-MAIL [email protected]


Business, take in a teacher and transform a school 


Bettina Khanthongdy, teacher at Southeast Polk High School, worked as a Teacher Extern at Innovative Lighting in Roland, Iowa.
Here's a quiz for you: What Iowa STEM program, after getting jump-started by a
Career Awareness grant from the
Iowa Economic Development Authority, earned a million dollar boost from the National Science Foundation? What program was named one of the top 34 most innovative and effective STEM education solutions in the country by the
Carnegie Corporation? What program has been featured by the National Career Pathways Network in the book, Building Interest in STEM Careers and by Education Week in a national webinar? What program has 96 percent of business partners believing it made
significant contributions to operations? What program has over 90 percent of teachers claiming it was the best professional development they ever had? And, what program has proven results in generating more interest in STEM among high school students (especially girls)?
 
If you guessed the STEM Council's Iowa STEM Teacher Externships program, you're right! Since 2009, about 300 Iowa secondary STEM teachers have immersed themselves in a hundred different work environments (listed here - http://bit.ly/1RDTawR), earning graduate credits and six weeks of summer pay while updating what and how they teach to be more in line with the job world that awaits their students.

While hosting a Teacher Extern at Hy-Vee's corporate offices, a supervisor said teachers, "...bring a fresh set of eyes to our business and can offer solutions we may not have even considered. They in turn get real-life experiences they can take back to the classroom with real-life examples that kids can relate to."
 
A teacher who had spent a summer at John Deere Des Moines Works realized, "If teachers don't get out and see how businesses actually operate, it is hard for them to convey business operations and models to their students. Also, by experiencing the latest trends and technology, I can teach as a more informed resource."
 
Now is the window of time for Iowa workplaces to step up for a Teacher Extern (or two!) for summer 2016. Register your interest at http://bit.ly/1QPEU3q or direct any questions to [email protected].
  
 
STEM BEST builds partnerships in rural Iowa 

The Northeast STEM Program in Goose Lake, a
STEM BEST model awarded by the STEM Council in 2014, continues to work with local businesses to immerse
more than 150 students in an environment that helps
them develop STEM skills specific to their community
 and industry needs.
The STEM Council is focused on growing a STEM-talented workforce that stays in Iowa. To do that, the STEM BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) models awarded in 2014 have started a trend in Iowa to bring local business and schools together and introduce students to STEM opportunities in their hometowns, counties and regions.
 
A prime example is in Goose Lake, Iowa, at the Northeast Community School District. The district redesigned a traditional classroom that has attracted dozens of middle-to-high school students who participate in local industry-driven curriculum.
 
According to the district's 6-12 Principal Alicia Christiansen, several educators spent a day last summer at LyondellBasell in Clinton, one of the largest chemical plants in Iowa that helps produce the materials needed to create leak-proof products and packaging that protects food from spoiling.
 
"The conversation and work that day has driven many of the projects that are being implemented in the STEM program," she said. "In the future, we may look to create internship and externship opportunities for students and staff that will take place at the job sites. We also hope to teleconference more consistently with LyondellBasell to receive more frequent feedback on projects."
 
In six months, the program has grown from one course and 60 students to four courses and 150 students with nearly equal participation from male and female students. Courses range from forensics to airplane design and building roller coasters to designing a car with a limited budget and supplies.
 
To learn how the other STEM BEST models are inspiring students across Iowa, visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/STEMBEST.


MVP for Iowa STEM: Gary Scholten and The Principal Financial Group  

Gary Scholten, a founding member of the STEM Council, provides
opening remarks at December's Executive Committee meeting, voicing
his passion for the STEM Council and its contributions to Iowa.
The Principal, an international financial services company headquartered in Des Moines, represents "the principle" idea of what it means for a business to demonstrate its passion and vested interest in Iowa STEM, especially with The Principal's support in providing one of the company's top leaders, Gary Scholten, executive vice president and chief information officer, to serve on the STEM Council.
 
Scholten began as an original Governor's appointee to the STEM Council in 2011 and transitioned onto the Executive Committee in 2013. Since then, he has served on various working groups, including one that developed the STEM Council Seal of Approval and another one focused on how the STEM Council could bridge education and workforce through public-private partnerships.
 
Above and beyond Scholten's business insights on the "T" in STEM are The Principal's contributions to several STEM Council-led programs and events every year. The company has hosted and cost-shared Teacher Externs since 2010 through the Iowa STEM Teacher Externships program. Additionally, The Principal has sponsored the Iowa STEM Summit and has made significant, unrestricted contributions, including a $75,000 gift in 2015, a portion of which will support "Code Iowa" and the upcoming Code Studio workshops happening next month to train teachers who led their students in the "Hour of Code" in December.
 
Scholten says the partnership between The Principal and the STEM Council has benefited both groups. Yet, the ultimate benefit, he says, is watching Iowa's students become more informed and inspired for their futures.
 
"It's important for our young people to be aware of the great opportunities in STEM and educated in a way that they can then grab those jobs. Even for those who choose not to go into a STEM career, they're going to need basic knowledge of mathematics and how to leverage technology or they will not be able to do the jobs of the future," he said. "From when [the STEM Council] started, it was a blank sheet of paper. We were getting advice from other states about what we could do. Fast forward a little bit, and now, it's very successful. We have people from other states coming in to inquire about it or how we're doing it. For me personally, that's really gratifying."
 
We tip our hats to Gary Scholten as this month's MVP for Iowa STEM and thank each of the other 46 members of the STEM Council for their continued support of what lies ahead in 2016 for STEM in Iowa. For more information about the STEM Council, please visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/Council.