Top programs to STEM-spire at least 86,000 young Iowans
come fall  

The Southwest Regional STEM Advisory Board examines scores of STEM Scale-Up Program applications, ranking them to narrow down the school districts and organizations to receive STEM Scale-Up Program awards.

April always comes with a fresh start-budding leaves, blooming flowers and for Iowa STEM, a new garden of programs ready to grow across Iowa for youth through the Iowa STEM Scale-Up Program.
Around this time of year, the regional STEM managers and their regional STEM advisory boards sift through hundreds of applications from thousands of educators (approximately 3,400), evaluate them and select communities, schools, organizations and, ultimately, their students to receive a STEM Scale-Up Program award from the programs available on the 2017-18 menu.
The awarding of exemplary STEM curriculum, kits and lesson plans to thousands of educators who will transform their classrooms, afterschool programs, daycares and more for tens of thousands of students is no easy decision. A great deal of time and effort are invested in these decisions, relying on heat maps and historical evidence of previous recipients, strong mission-alignment in applicant essays, sustainability plans and other supportive data points. Regional boards are excellent shepherds of this crucial $3 million in state-appropriated support funds to be distributed statewide, especially in the communities needing it most (targeting underrepresented student populations and schools with high free lunch rates).
Although applicant demand for these STEM programs eclipsed available funds at $4.7 million, nearly 2,000 educators received their program of choice and will experience immersive professional development workshops this summer to introduce the programs to their students in the fall.
All the while, the evaluation triad of Iowa's three Regents universities' research organizations gear up to harvest the effect and results from the current year's STEM Scale-Up Program participants for 2016-17. Roughly 400,000 Iowa students have participated in the STEM Scale-Up Program since 2012 -- all of whom trend in scoring higher on the Iowa Assessments in mathematics, science and reading while also showing a stronger interest in STEM careers in Iowa compared to their peers who did not participate in the STEM Scale-Up Program. And, these programs live on with approximately three-fourths of past STEM Scale-Up Program educators sustaining the programs beyond STEM Council seed funding.
For a complete list of those schools and organizations equipped to inspire Iowa's generation of STEM-savvy, young professionals in 2017-18, visit this link.

June 21, 2017
"Fast-Track Iowa's Future" Conference
9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

August 20, 2017
STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair
9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
More Information Coming Soon

Iowa STEM Operations Center
University of Northern Iowa
214 East Bartlett
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0298

PHONE 319-273-2959
E-MAIL Info@IowaSTEM.gov

Welcome, new STEM Council members 
Under the leadership of STEM Council Co-Chairs Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Kemin Industries President and CEO Dr. Chris Nelson, the 47-member STEM Council represents key stakeholders from across the STEM interest spectrum, including education to industry and nonprofits to policy. This month, the STEM Council strengthened its diversity of perspectives thanks to the Governor's appointment of five outstanding new members.
And, special thanks to our parting STEM Council members for their commitment to Iowa STEM over the years -- Catherine Swoboda, Steve Triplett and Jim Wohlpart.

For a current list of STEM Council members, please visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/Council.

Mega-Meeting is a mega-hit for harnessing regional STEM success 

Members from the six regional STEM advisory boards assembled in Ankeny earlier this month to share best practices and provide guidance on regional operations.
Iowa's STEM Council recognized early on the uniqueness of each of the six STEM regions they created in 2012. Their founding vision was that a statewide STEM program cannot thrive as a "one-size-fits-all" model. Today, that vision manifests in Iowa's six regional STEM advisory boards, guided by their regional STEM managers, enacting targeted tactics that benefit each region in the state with the tools and resources most relevant to regional needs.
All 90 members (15 on each board) fit Council-prescribed sectors represented across the region, including libraries, K-12 schools, business and industry, area education agencies, higher education, Extension, workforce, policy and more. Each board member voluntarily serves on the regional board, appointed by the Governor, helping advance the STEM crusade by spreading the word about events and programs, reviewing proposals and applications, contributing at regular board meetings and being the voice of their peers in regards to how STEM in their region can have the most impact.
Annually, the regional boards convene for a Mega-Meeting -- this time, at DMACC's Student Activities Center in early April where members from all around Iowa shared a table with fellow board members. Sessions had an " Edcamp" vibe, allowing board members to vote with their feet and voice their opinion on topics, including expansion and engagement, regional success stories, out-of-school engagement, business and industry involvement and communications among others.
Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, co-chair of the STEM Council, visited during lunch to thank them for their continued support and spirit of volunteerism, taking time for some questions from the gathered members.
The outcomes -- board members take home best practices from other regions and provide guidance on developing new methods of broadening the impact of STEM from the local level to the statewide level.
For those interested in applying for a position on a Regional STEM Advisory Board, please visit https://openup.iowa.gov/home

Teacher Leaders huddle over STEM

Teacher leaders across Iowa convened recently to compare notes and advance STEM education.
Now that teacher leaders and instructional coaches dwell in schools throughout the state, an ideal partnership is in the making between Iowa STEM and building-level lead instructors. A robust roster of 440 such pivot-point educators in the areas of mathematics and science, as well as in the applied fields of technology and engineering, were accrued with the help of superintendents across Iowa. This august body of teachers were invited to convene in late April for a one-day "huddle" in which STEM leaders could apprise them of available resources and support, and they could compare notes in crafting best practices back home in their respective schools.

Monsanto's Huxley Learning Center provided an ideal meeting space, and Iowa's state Mathematics Supervisor April Pforts and Science Supervisor Kris Kilibarda joined in as hosts and presenters. Eighty-six classroom experts made the trek and invested a precious day in sharing and learning. An intrepid panel of distinguished teachers, Chelsey Ringsdorf of Sioux Center, Shannon McLaughlin of Norwalk, Reagan Boeset of Clear Creek-Amana, and Kenton Swartley of Cedar Falls, framed the conversation through their own lenses as teacher leaders.

Consensus emerged across the room for shared challenges they reflected upon, including limited (and sometimes absent) resources, unclear mandates, lack of time and isolated roles. An upside that united the emergent community was that more systemic educational progress is being made through committed practitioners placed in leadership roles. And, now that teacher leaders have been connected to the support structure of Iowa STEM, including helpful regional STEM managers and resource options such as the STEM Scale-Up Program and Iowa STEM Teacher Externships, leaders can make even greater headway in local schools.

Factor in the wealth of knowledge and resources brought by the Department of Education's Kilibarda and Pforts, and a triad of forces congealed to advance STEM education for Iowa. Inquirers interested in joining future convenings of this group should register interest at Info@IowaSTEM.gov.