February 2020
Monthly News

Hundreds Celebrate STEM Day at the Capitol

2020 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Awardees Honored at State Capitol

Registration Opens for 2020 Statewide STEM Summit: Transforming Education for the Workforce

STEM Education Produces Positive Impact on Future Workforce

March 11, 2020 - 1:00 p.m.
South Central Regional STEM Advisory Board Meeting

March 14, 2020 - 1:45 p.m.
Computer Science Festival

March 18, 2020 - 8:30 a.m.
Southwest Regional STEM Advisory Board Meeting

March 24, 2020 - 12:00 p.m.
North Central Regional STEM Advisory Board Meeting

March 24, 2020 - 4:00 p.m.
Cedar Valley Family STEM Festival

March 25, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.
Northwest Regional STEM Advisory Board Meeting

March 25, 2020 - 11:00 a.m.
Southeast Regional STEM Advisory Board Meeting

March 26, 2020 - 5:00 p.m.
Lucas County STEAM Festival

March 29, 2020 - 1:00 p.m.
East Central Iowa STEM Festival
Hundreds Celebrate STEM Day at the Capitol
Educators, employers, students, parents, legislators and guests assembled in the State Capitol Rotunda for STEM Day at the Capitol 2020.
STEM exhibits, featuring nearly 200 Iowans, lined the Capitol Rotunda on February 19 for STEM Day at the Capitol. A total of 23 in and out of school displays were present, featuring students who demonstrated the impact of STEM programming in their lives. Exhibitors ranged from STEM BEST models and STEM Scale-Up Program awardees to Computer Science is Elementary models and representatives of other STEM Council programs. 

Sponsored by Collins Aerospace and Vermeer Corporation, STEM Day at the Capitol opened with remarks from Gov. Reynolds, who highlighted the STEM Council’s progress, along with the ongoing need for STEM education to prepare young people for a competitive, global economy.

Bipartisan support from the Iowa Legislature was demonstrated by Senator Bill Dotzler (D), Senator Amy Sinclair (R), Representative Cecil Dolecheck (R) and Representative Dave Jacoby (D) as they shared observations and perspectives about the importance of quality, STEM programming in the state. 

Kemin Industries Vice President and General Counsel Libby Nelson conveyed the company’s commitment to STEM teachers, who are developing Iowa’s future STEM professionals. She presented plaques to recipients of the 2020 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award, which is sponsored by Kemin.

To close the program, Accumold President and CEO and STEM Council Co-Chair Roger Hargens spoke about how STEM programs are shaping tomorrow’s STEM leaders and building STEM-literate, workforce-ready citizens for Iowa.

The event, which was open to legislators and the general public, drew a large crowd around each exhibit offering engaging demonstrations and hands-on activities. For photos and videos from STEM Day at the Capitol, visit our Facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/IowaSTEM/ .
2020 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Awardees Honored at State Capitol
2020 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award recipients were honored at STEM Day at the Capitol. Pictured left to right in front: MMCRU Educator Matt Hansen, St. Theresa Catholic School Educator Ronda McCarthy, Dubuque Alternative Learning Center Educator Ann Arnold, Pleasant Valley High School Educator Megan Bildner, CAM High School Educator Shelly Miller, Forest City Elementary Educator Melissa Taft, STEM Council Executive Director Jeff Weld.
Pictures left to right in back: Accumold President and CEO Roger Hargens, Governor Kim Reynolds, Kemin Industries Vice President and General Counsel Libby Nelson, Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, Senator Bill Dotzler.
The 2020 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award recipients were recognized during STEM Day at the Capitol. Sponsored by Kemin Industries, the award is given to teachers who go above and beyond to inspire student interest in and awareness of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

The 2020 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award recipients include:
  • Ann Arnold, mathematics teacher at Alternative Learning Center in Dubuque
  • Megan Bildner, high school chemistry teacher at Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf
  • Matt Hansen, industrial technology teacher at MMCRU High School in Marcus
  • Ronda McCarthy, middle school science teacher at St. Theresa Catholic School in Des Moines
  • Shelly Miller, business teacher at CAM High School in Anita
  • Melissa Taft, first grade teacher at Forest City Elementary in Forest City

Now in its sixth year, this award is given annually to one full-time, licensed teacher from each of the six STEM regions in Iowa. Educators can work with any grade level from preschool to high school. It celebrates innovative teachers who help their students understand science, technology, engineering and mathematics are more than just academic subjects. STEM is all around them—and STEM skills are essential life skills. 

Through generous support from Kemin Industries, each awardee receives $1,500 to use for his or her classroom and $1,500 for personal use. Each recipient was also honored during a ceremony at his or her school with students, peers, administrators, business partners and Kemin Industries representatives present.

The 2020 awardees were selected based on a comprehensive application process. Eligible nominees for the I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award include licensed, full-time, PreK-12 Iowa STEM teachers in public or non-public schools. Teachers were nominated by a school administrator, fellow teacher, student or parent. The nominees were also required to complete an application. The applications were then evaluated by a panel of expert reviewers. Since 2015,  36 extraordinary teachers  have received this award.
Registration Opens for 2020 Statewide STEM Summit: Transforming Education for the Workforce
Registration is now open for the Transforming Education for the Workforce Summit.
During remarks at STEM Day at the Capitol, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the 2020 statewide STEM summit, “Transforming Education for the Workforce.” Presented by the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and Future Ready Iowa, the summit will be held on April 14, 2020, at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. The focus of the summit will be to connect Iowa’s educators and employers to expand work-based learning and computer science as critical aspects of STEM education.

“This year’s summit focuses on transforming education through work-based learning and computer science,” said Gov. Reynolds. “It’s the natural next step in immersing our students in science, technology, engineering, and math so that they can thrive in a competitive, global economy. By connecting their classroom learning to real-world career opportunities, we help turn their passion it into a worthwhile career.”

Practicing PreK-12 and informal educators who attend the summit will receive complimentary registration. Teachers can receive substitute teacher reimbursement and licensure renewal credit through Central Rivers AEA at no additional cost, compliments of STEM Council corporate partners. Bringing along students (also free admission) is encouraged.

The agenda for the Transforming Education for the Workforce Summit includes remarks by the Governor, employers, educators and students. For more information or to register, visit  www.IowaSTEM.gov/2020STEMsummit .
STEM Education Produces Positive Impact on Future Workforce
In 2018-2019, a higher percentage of students who participated in STEM Scale-Up Programs were very interested in STEM subjects, as well as pursuing a STEM career and working in Iowa after graduation compared to all students statewide.
The STEM Council recently released the 2018-2019 Iowa STEM Evaluation Report showing continued growth and impact on Iowa’s educators and future workforce. This independent evaluation measures the STEM Council’s progress toward increasing student interest and achievement in STEM subjects and careers through the implementation of high-quality STEM programs for PreK-12 students in preparation for Iowa’s future workforce needs.

Highlights of the report include:

  • In 2018-19, 95 percent of Iowans said STEM education should be a priority in their local school district.
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 Iowans support state efforts to devote resources and develop initiatives to promote STEM education.
  • Students who participated in STEM Scale-Up Programs performed better on the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress. On average, 2% more Scale-Up Program students met or exceeded proficiency benchmarks in mathematics, science and English language arts.
  • Among educators taking part in the STEM Scale-Up Program, 94 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they now have more confidence to teach STEM topics and have increased their STEM knowledge.
  • The percent of students who said they were very interested in someday working in Iowa was 46 percent of STEM Scale-Up Program participants compared to 37 percent of students statewide.
  • From 2013 to 2016, Iowa high school graduates who took part in the STEM Scale-Up Program were 22% more likely to major in a STEM field for those enrolled in an Iowa Regent University. 
  • Community college STEM diplomas, certificates and degrees increased 13% among white graduates and 31% among minority graduates compared to 2013.
  • STEM jobs pay an average of $22,330 higher per year at $67,057 compared to $44,727 for all other jobs. 

The Iowa STEM Evaluation Report is conducted by a consortium of partners from Iowa’s three Regent universities: the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Social and Behavioral Research (CSBR), the Iowa State University Research Institute for Studies in Education (RISE) and Iowa Testing Programs at the University of Iowa. 

To view the entire report, please visit  http://IowaSTEM.gov/iowa-stem-evaluation .  
Contact the Iowa STEM Operations Center by phone at (319) 273-2959
or by email at info@IowaSTEM.gov.