April 2019
SC STEM Hub Newsletter
Congratulations Scale-Up Recipients! Training schedules coming soon.
"Live outside your comfort zone. Challenge yourself."
-- Dr. Peggy Whitson, at the Iowa STEM Summit
Dr. Sarah Derry, SC Regional Manager
Phone : 515-271-2403
Website : https://scstemhub.drake.edu/
Email : scstemhub@drake.edu
Calendar : Calendar of Events
Hashtag: #STEMinYourWorld
Governor Kim Reynolds, second from left, and Dr. Peggy Whitson, center, take a moment to talk with students who had questions and photo requests. Below right: Governor Kim Reynolds spent the day at the STEM Summit, taking the stage twice. Her dedication to STEM has changed how schools and industry work together and provided students with reasons to live and work in the state as they look beyond high school.
The 2019 STEM Education + Workplace Partnerships Summit was held on April 30 at the Iowa Events Center. With a sold-out audience of over 1000 people, Governor Kim Reynolds and Lt. Governor Adam Gregg welcomed attendees and ushered in a day filled with keynotes, panels, showcases, and breakouts.

Overview on the Status of STEM
Across Iowa and the nation as a whole, STEM jobs continue to grow. According to keynote speaker Pallavi Verma, Senior Managing Director for Accenture's U.S. Midwest technology interests, there are currently 4,000 computer science openings in Iowa with only 469 graduates to fill them this year. Nationally, there are 500,000 computer science jobs open in the U.S., but only 64,000 graduates nationwide to fill them.

This growth is creating a great opportunity for diversity in the field, adding women and under-served populations to high-paying jobs and career advancement opportunities. "There has never been a better time for women in tech," said Verma. "Technology is the great equalizer. If you lean in on your skills and talents, everything else will fall into place."

This need for more students to be trained in computer science prompted the governor to create the Computer Science is Elementary program. Over 30 schools applied for funding. In the South Central Region, Perry Elementary School was selected to re ceive the $50,000 grant. Seed money for these pilot schools came from corporate donations.

Looking to the Future of STEM
NASA astronaut Dr. Peggy Whitson delivered the afternoon keynote to an enthusiastic audience. She noted that her Iowa roots and work ethic contributed to her success in space. "Live outside your comfort zone. Challenge yourself," advised Whitson. For 10 years, she applied and was rejected for astronaut training before she became that first female commander of the Space Station. During those years, she gained skills needed for her work in space.

Whitson also noted the importance of soft skills, including team work. She credits her strengths in this area as one reason why she was successful as team commander. "Act cooperatively rather than competitively," said Whitson. In the Space Station, there's a "shared responsibility for success and failure...and remember you have to learn from failure."

Governor Kim Reynolds offered the final keynote of the day, announcing grant awards and looking at the future of STEM. She noted that students, parents and communities are asking for more STEM oppor tunities, "Iowa's workforce of tomorrow is sitting in classrooms today."
Computer Science is Elementary Awards Announced
 
Gov. Kim Reynolds has announced the six schools selected to each receive $50,000 grants through the Computer Science is Elementary project. The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and the Iowa Department of Education are partnering with business and industry on this project to transform six high-poverty elementary schools into models of innovative computer science instruction. The goal is to create opportunities for students and a statewide network of computer science expertise.
 
The six schools, which Gov. Reynolds named at the 2019 Future Ready Iowa-STEM Summit, are:
 
  • Denison Elementary in the Denison Community School District.
  • Lenihan Intermediate in the Marshalltown Community School District.
  • Cora B. Darling Elementary in the Postville Community School District.
  • East Union Elementary in the East Union Community School District.
  • Perry Elementary in the Perry Community School District.
  • Richardson Elementary in the Fort Madison Community School District.
 
“Computer science is a new basic skill that’s required for success in a workforce constantly impacted by innovation and technology,” said Gov. Reynolds. “With tomorrow’s workers sitting in today’s classrooms, we must prepare our students to be continuous learners and adaptable for the disruptive economy of the future.”
 
The Computer Science is Elementary Project aligns with Future Ready Iowa, which sets the goal of 70 percent of the workforce having education or training beyond high school by the year 2025. The initiative also focuses on strengthening preK-12 education and career exploration and preparation.
 
“To continue Iowa’s prosperity, we must invest in our students and their futures. By introducing computer science in our elementary schools and giving young Iowans access to these in-demand skills, they will be ready for the unlimited opportunities awaiting them in our state,” said Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg.
 
Thirty schools applied for the awards, which are possible thanks to generous support from private-sector partners that raised $350,000 total: Collins Aerospace as the lead sponsor, Principal Financial Group, MidAmerican Energy, Kemin Industries, Microsoft, Google, ITC Midwest, Alliant Energy, Technology Association of Iowa, Verizon, Paragon IT, AT&T, School Administrators of Iowa, Workiva, Pella Rolscreen Foundation, Merchant Bonding and Bankers Trust.
 
Loess Hills Computer Programming School, the inspiration for the Computer Science is Elementary project, also will receive a $50,000 grant to serve as a project resource.
 
The six schools selected to receive the $50,000 planning grants will implement their programs no later than the 2020-21 school year with regular school funding.

Perry Elementary School represents the SC Region. Congratulations!
IMMAW-IA STEM Fest
Celebrating Diversity and Excellence in STEM
Postponed in January due to weather, I'll Make Me a World in Iowa's Education Day moved forward on April 15. Approximately 500 students came together to celebrate African-American culture. The SC STEM Hub partnered with Collins Aerospace to create a mini-STEM festival as part of the event.

" The diversity and talent of students that attend the I'll Make Me a World's STEM Fest, combined with the passion and popularity of the program with Collins Aerospace employees, makes it an ideal event to promote STEM in our community," said Adriana Johnson, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Collins Aerospace .

Besides making community contacts, exhibitors are also getting to know their future workforce. When adding the number of STEM jobs left unfilled across the state with the projected number of new STEM jobs that will be needed in the next 10 years, those who will fill high-demand, high-paying jobs are likely in middle and high school right now.

"Our work with the Iowa STEM Council, Drake University, and I'll Make Me a World allows Collins Aerospace to continue our commitment to form positive relationships with students who will one day become our next generation of engineers and innovators," added Johnson.

Exhibitors included Collins Aerospace, Corteva Agriscience, Iowa National Guard, Iowa State University Extension, Science Center of Iowa, and Vermeer Corporation. The experience was designed to provide students with insights and connections to STEM employers and organizations within the state.
Above collage: The collage features all six exhibitors at the event. Presenters brought hands-on STEM activities that related to skills used in their places of employment.

Right column, above: Exhibitors meet festival attendees one-on-one.
WOTYC Partners with Hub to Host STEM Fest
The above collage highlights exhibits at WOTYC's community STEM festival.
Goals of WOTYC Events

Select Goals of WOTYC Events
  1. Increase cultural and linguistic understanding.
  2. Continue to grow early math readiness skills.
  3. Focus on social and emotional development, understanding how trauma and stress impact growth.
  4. Showcase the Power of the Profession, looking at competency and compensation in order to elevate the early childcare profession.


The Power of a Great Picture Book

Every educator who attended the workshop received a free book, The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins . We asked Katie McKenzie, Community Literacy Specialist Every Step, to talk about the story.

Q. What makes this book special?
McKenzie: "With this story, there are so many angles to teach numeracy and other developmental skills."

Q. What's the general story line?
McKenzie: The children start out with a plate of a dozen cookies. Each time the doorbell rings, more people arrive, and they have to split the cookies differently. At the end, one more person arrives than they have cookies for. What's the solution? (You'll have to read to find out.)

The story is engaging and features repetition, leaving room for kids to participate in the book.

Q: Can you name a few specific early childhood skills to look for in the book?
McKenzie: Foremost, it gives an early introduction into division, something we call "fair share" when talking to younger kids. If you take a look at the illustrations, you'll see patterns everywhere.

The book is also multicultural, and it's so important for children to see themselves in the book. Finally, there's a social-emotional component with the ideas of waiting and friendship.
STEM Festival
On Saturday, April 6, the SC STEM Hub partnered to host a Week of the Young Child (WOTYC) event at Drake University. The morning started with a community-wide STEM festival for PreK-early elementary kids.

"During Week of the Young Child, the whole community comes together to celebrate children, t heir families, and other people who care about them," said Crystal Abbe, DMPS Early Childhood Support Staff and Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children Chapter President.

The hub featured it's hands-on Math Madness Kit, as early number literacy is an important foundation for math and science to come. "Make mathematics a magnet" is one of the priorities in America's Strategy for STEM Education , released in December. Here's an article by GreatSchools.org that continues this discussion. The community event culminated with IPTV's Abby Brown gathering everyone for story time.

Dr. Chris Porter, Drake Math Professor and parent, brought his children to the event. "The kids really liked the variation, from robots to organic material to building blocks," he said. "Plus, they got books, toys, pencils--they love gathering little treasures."

That's exactly what organizers hoped would happen. Abbe noted that, in the stages of early childhood, learning should look like play because those interactions help the brain get ready to learn later in life.

"The number one thing parents can do to help children get a good academic start is keep learning playful, focusing the development of a positive relationship above all else," said Abbe. "Education will develop from that early love of learning."

Educator Workshops
Later that morning, the focus turned to educators. Those working in the field attended three different workshop sessions that generated ready-to-use lessons for them to share with the kids.

What makes the Drake event unique is that everything is free. It's also open to different types of educators, including teachers, administrators, teaching assistants, and in-home/family-based providers.

"We are always looking for ideas and ways to support the way children learn and develop," noted Abbe.

Why Focus on PreK?
The Hub became involved because of the event's early emphasis on STEM. Research collected by the After School Alliance indicates that the top two reasons students choose STEM interest areas is because 1.) parents encouraged it and 2.) they had an inspiring experience with an out-of-school STEM provider.

Want More Early STEM?
For those interested in finding and sharing more STEM opportunities, follow the SC STEM Hub on Twitter , Facebook , and our community calendar . Know of a great STEM event? Tag us on social media to help spread the word or email scstemhub@drake.edu with the info. We want to hear from you!
STEM Outreach at Drake
The Hub is happy to take part in many of the STEM outreach activities that take place daily at Drake University. From elementary school students to international visitors, Drake hosts a variety of enriching experiences that build its growing STEM community.
Above: Visiting educators from Kazakhstan talk to Iowa STEM representatives Dr. Jeff Weld, Dr. Sarah Derry and Dr. Kelly Bergman.

Right top: Students from Findley Elementary School arrive on Drake's campus. Middle: President Marty Martin welcomes students and gets an enthusiastic reception. Bottom: Dr. Sarah Derry introduces students to a STEM challenge with Ramps & Pathways.
Libraries Grow STEM Literacy
Above: Volunteers representing the Hub piloted a Math Madness program last summer's at the Forest Avenue branch.
One of the goals established by the SC STEM Hub's Advisory Board is to "increase STEM literacy." This year, the Hub worked to build relationships with a rea libraries. We recently spoke at two state library events and talked with Dan Chibnall, Drake STEM Librarian and Iowa Library Association President.

" Libraries can help promote STEM literacy by offering speakers events, workshops about STEM, children’s events & story times, and through their resources, especially books, films, and activity packets," said Chibnall. "Most importantly, the library can highlight these events to younger patrons to get them interested in STEM at an early age."

The state's six Hubs have resources to help support community programming. Libraries are welc ome to:
  1. Apply for Scale-Up materials and professional development. In particular, libraries seeking to create a maker space have found resources here, and many of other Scale-Ups apply to libraries. Applications open in January.
  2. Check-out STEM materials. Each Hub can direct you to a select inventory of STEM-related materials for educator access. It's always free, first-come-first-serve, and you have to be able to pick them up.
  3. Plan a STEM festival. For communities looking to begin a STEM event, the library provides an ideal space. The Hub can often help in some way. Contact Dr. Sarah Derry for more info.
  4. Nominate a STEM teacher. Librarians know everyone! Choose an awesome teacher in your community who promotes STEM in schools. Sponsored by Kemin Industries, prize money is awarded.
  5. Recommend a STEM book. The SC Hub hosts a book blog that recommends the best of STEM books. Review a title or create your own list--we're always seeking content.
  6. Become a STEM catalyst. Do you hope to spark real change? Partner with schools and businesses in your community to access STEM BEST and Innovation Fund awards.

Both libraries and STEM are collaborative endeavors. Chibnall noted: " Neither can exist unless we all work together to maintain it and its value to society."
Open to All Readers
Share Your Favorite STEM Books!

From pre-K through adults, we are looking for readers to share their favorite STEM books. Here’ s a link to our past posts:  https://scstemhub.drake.edu/blog/
How does it work?
  1. Choose a great STEM you’ve read.
  2. Complete this Google Doc:
  3. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeCRkYg3oKIb5nD0CqLNDfWVwejhjZOffs6U_1I_XY9jhaSWw/viewform
  4. OR be a guest blogger by emailing the Hub.
  5. After the post is published, we’ll share it via social media and our newsletter.
The photos above highlight just a few of the books we've featured on the Hub's blog.
Want more STEM?
Calendar of Events

May 14 -- SC STEM Advisory Board Meeting
June - October -- Scale-Up Professional Developments
June 10-13 -- ISU's Biotechnology Workshop I
June 11-12 -- K-8 Teaching Science Outdoors
June 21-22 -- Enhancing Instruction, Farm to School Program

For more events and details, please visit our website calendar .