AUGUST 2016 MONTHLY NEWS
2015-2016 Iowa STEM Evaluation Report

On the Iowa Assessments, students who participated in the STEM Scale-Up Program scored an average of seven points higher in National Percentile Rank in mathematics, six points higher on science and four points higher in reading.

Iowa's STEM Council practices what it preaches when it comes to data-driven decision-making. Measures of performance enable an annual cycle of continuous improvement to engineer new ways for moving forward.
 
Every year, an inter-university evaluation triad led by the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Social and Behavioral Research (CSBR) and including Iowa State University's Research Institute for Studies in Education (RISE) and the University of Iowa's Iowa Testing Program conducts an independent assessment of Iowa STEM.
 
Over the course of year five, Iowa STEM showed great progress in the 306-page Iowa STEM Evaluation Report, including:
  • Students who participated in the STEM Scale-Up Program scored an average of seven percentage points higher in National Percentile Rank on the Iowa Assessments in mathematics, six percentage points higher in science and four percentage points higher in reading.
  • The percent of students who said they were very interested in someday working in Iowa was 45 percent of STEM Scale-Up Program participants compared to 39 percent of students statewide.
  • Nine in 10 Iowans thought STEM education should be a priority in their local school districts, but only 46 percent said that they think it actually is a priority.
The assessment team also looks at the status of STEM in Iowa using indicators like graduates with STEM degrees, enrollment numbers, ACT data and more. This year's key indicators show that: 55 percent of students aspire to a STEM bachelor's degree compared to 49 percent five years ago (ACT, Inc.); more students have taken Advanced Placement (AP) courses in STEM; and more teachers have received a STEM-related teaching endorsement.

While these measurable successes give Iowa STEM a reason for celebration, the report also provides areas for improvement that equip the STEM Council to set a course for the years ahead.

To read the full report, visit this link and direct any questions to [email protected].

UPCOMING EVENTS
September 7, 8, 19 and 26, 2016
STEM Active Learning Toolbox: Professional Development Workshop Series
More Information

September 17, 2016
WiSE STEM Festival
1:00 to 4:00 PM
Iowa State University
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September 23, 2016
Iowa STEM BESTŪ Proposals DUE
More Information

September 28, 2016
Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council Meeting
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]


Greatness "STEM-ed" from Iowa State Fairgoers this month

Hundreds of families learned, touched and experienced 6,000 square feet of Iowa STEM along the Grand Concourse for STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair last week.
Although the Iowa State Fair didn't surpass attendance records this year, early results from an evaluation of STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair show attendance and engagement levels on the Grand Concourse like never before.
 
Thanks to our partnership with the Blue Ribbon Foundation and our Corporate Partners for the event, including Iowa Workforce Development, Kemin Industries, Noodles & Company and Rockwell Collins, the third year of the event was bigger and better, showing off more than 6,000 square feet of Iowa STEM on the Grand Concourse with 26 exhibitors and their hands-on activities.
 
Our first-ever STEM Stage had standing-room only for most of the day, hosting exciting stage acts like Blank Park Zoo, the Grout Museum District, the Science Center of Iowa, Team Neutrino with FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and a juggling mathematics professor, Steve Butler, from Iowa State University. That afternoon, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, co-chair of the STEM Council, and Des Moines Central Campus science teacher Kacia Cain, a STEM Council member, helped launch the I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award, calling for nominations for outstanding STEM teachers in Iowa.
 
As many as 10,000 Iowans were "STEM-ed" at the State Fair, with 8,500 of them receiving "Greatness STEMs from Iowans" backpacks that helped spread STEM across the fairgrounds. Some participated in the STEM Day at the Fair Checklist. Most took part in assembling a tower, programming a robot, pulse-checking a mannequin, extracting DNA, testing their own torque and dozens of other hands-on adventures.
 
This annual event -- through coordination across several Iowa organizations, volunteers, vendors, Iowa State Fair staff and investments from our Corporate Partners -- helps Iowa STEM further reach families to garner greater awareness and understanding, as well as help build a stronger STEM workforce for Iowa.
 
If you missed the event, you can still get a peek at the day by watching this 60-second recap video or checking out our photo spread on Facebook.


Summer Teacher Externships set up school year for STEM 

Monsanto's Huxley Learning Center, a Workplace Host this summer, also hosted the Year-End Forum of the Iowa STEM Teacher Externships program, where participating teachers and workplace partners reflected on the summer and planned greater impacts.
The Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Year-End Forum helped "plant the seed" for new STEM curriculum tied to workplace needs for about five dozen Teacher Externs at Monsanto's Huxley Learning Center in early August.
 
The annual gathering of both Teacher Externs and their Workplace Hosts strives to build on the Teacher Externship experiences, equipping both with the final pieces to develop new STEM curriculum through school+business partnerships.
 
Executive Director of the STEM Council Dr. Jeff Weld opened the event with impact data, including results that show 92 percent of surveyed past Teacher Externs agree the experience was their most valuable professional development and at least 75 percent of them are more confident about advising students regarding STEM jobs in Iowa.
 
The day-long event featured breakout sessions that provided opportunities to share insights across STEM disciplines, offer program best practices, identify areas for improvement and foster project-based learning ideas.
 
Ben Kuker, a Teacher Extern who teaches technology at Mount Vernon High School, worked side-by-side with American Profol in Cedar Rapids this summer. Kuker and Mark Thoeny, president and CEO of American Profol, keynoted the lunch hour to talk about how the experience is now being integrated in Kuker's classroom.
 
For more information on how you can be a Teacher Extern or Workplace Host for Summer 2017, please visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/Externships.

 

MVP for Iowa STEM: Kacia Cain 

Kacia Cain, a science teacher at Des Moines Central Campus and member of the STEM Council helped launch the I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award at STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair as a past recipient herself.
This month's MVP for Iowa STEM sees her role within the STEM Council as one who conveys potential barriers or problems against Iowa STEM growth to a mixed team of experts who know how to take them down or find pathways around them.
 
Kacia Cain, a science teacher at Des Moines Central Campus, introduces her students to the worlds of anatomy, physiology, genetics and microbiology. Her role as a STEM teacher landed her a spot on the STEM Council and Executive Committee in September 2013 where she has since served on the Business Engagement Committee that built the "Guidelines for School+Business Partnerships in STEM" and contributed to the STEM Council's Seal of Approval.
 
"I work to remind everyone that teachers would love to do all of these great ideas we come up with, but there are restrictions that won't allow them to do them right away," Cain said. "Luckily, there are influential people on the STEM Council who are on the other side of these barriers who can work together to get rid of them once they are aware that they exist."
 
Along with the educator perspective she brings to the table, Cain earned the 2015 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award, and she volunteers, when able, at STEM Council information booths at various state conferences. Kacia was instrumental in arranging for Central Campus to open its doors to a Strategic America camera crew who helped create four new career vignettes.
 
Cain said she has always believed that STEM is about building partnerships through links beyond school walls and is excited to be a part of a group in a state that puts that idea at the forefront.
 
"The more connections that exist between a business or higher education and a classroom in that subject area, the more students will succeed and realize that STEM is a place where they want to be, building Iowa's workforce," Cain said.
 
Thank you, Kacia, as well as the other 46 members of the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council, for your perspectives and insights that help shape Iowa STEM.


Recognize outstanding Iowa STEM teachers 
Do you know a STEM teacher in Iowa who goes above and beyond? Nominations are open for the 2017 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award sponsored by Kemin Industries. This award celebrates teachers whose leadership and dedication to STEM in Iowa increases students' interest and awareness in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
 
One teacher from each of the six STEM regions will receive a $1,500 award along with an additional $1,500 to be used in their classroom. Deadline for submissions is October 14, and recipients will be announced in the spring of 2017.
 
Nominate a STEM teacher today at  www.stemaward.fluidreview.com.