July 2020
Monthly News

Farewell Roger Hargens, STEM Co-Chair

Improving Equity in STEM Teaching and Learning

Scale-Up Training Pivots Virtual

Externships Power Through the Pandemic

August 6, 2020 - 12:00 p.m.
North Central Regional STEM Advisory Board Virtual Meeting

August 20, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.
Northwest Regional STEM Advisory Board Virtual Meeting

August 23, 2020 - 8:00 p.m.
STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair
Check out our website for more information coming soon!

August 31, 2020 - 12:00 p.m.
Southwest Regional STEM Advisory Board Virtual Meeting
Farewell Roger Hargens, STEM Council Co-Chair
Roger Hargens’ passion for STEM helped solidify bipartisan legislative support
at STEM Day at the Capitol.
On June 22, 2020 Roger Hargens, President and CEO of Accumold co-presided over his final meeting of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s Executive Committee. Appointed co-chair alongside Governor Reynolds in August, 2017, Mr. Hargens fulfilled his two-year commitment through August of 2019 before making a decision symbolic of his entire term, indeed of his approach to leadership and life. He re-upped for a bonus year at the helm on the Governor’s request. Speaking to Roger and the Executive Committee, Governor Reynolds said “If there were a STEM Hall of Fame in Iowa, Roger would be an instant inductee for all he's done, loyally and selflessly. Roger, you may be succeeded as my co-chair, but you'll never be replaced. I'm grateful. We're all grateful to you.”

Mr. Hargens was the fourth outstanding co-chair of Iowa’s STEM Council, preceded by Dr. Chris Nelson of Kemin Industries (2015-2017), Mary Andringa of Vermeer Corporation (2013-2015), and Dr. Ben Allen of UNI (2011-2013). All have left imprints and legacies on our vital work for young Iowans. Roger’s legacy might best be captured by the term strategic impatience , coined by Admiral Hyman Rickover. Roger Hargens impressed upon our Council and the operations team a sense of immediacy – young lives are in the balance and need action right now, not later after thinking and researching and debating. Do those things while acting. And Roger walks the talk. A tireless champion for skilled technical trades, work-based learning, and equity of opportunity, Mr. Hargens was exceptionally generous with his time – never missing a Council meeting or associated function even if it meant phoning in from Asia in the middle of the night.

Generous with his talents, Roger’s passion and energy infected audiences from the podium at State Fair, at STEM Summits, at community keynotes and at Council meetings. Generous with his treasures, Roger commits his global company Accumold to assorted college and K-12 partnerships ranging from apprenticeships to BEST partnerships. He’s also been known to donate funding for STEM in moments of need, right on the spot. 

Roger Hargens will be succeeded by a new STEM Council co-chair, but he’s irreplaceable. Young Iowans enjoy stronger and more effective STEM education thanks to Mr. Hargens.
Improving Equity in STEM Teaching and Learning
Survey results show participants of the Fostering Equity in the STEM Classroom Workshop were more confident having the necessary skills to foster equity in the STEM classroom after completing the workshop.
The year 2020 has offered many opportunities for reflection, learning and growth. In June, the STEM Council was honored to host a virtual workshop on Equity in the STEM Classroom, facilitated by Aris Winger, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Mathematics Enrichment for Diversity and Learning (MEDAL).

The workshop quickly reached the maximum capacity with 100 participants who completed pre- and post-workshop surveys that consisted of the same six questions. After completing the workshop, participants were more confident in fostering equity and having the necessary skills to foster equity in the STEM classroom, had better understanding how STEM culture may clash with students’ personal experiences and were more aware about how race, gender and biases may impact teaching. A statistical analysis of the data shows that the average responses of participants after completing the workshop is different than the responses of participants before the workshop for all six questions.

One participant shared, “The open discussion helped shed a light on social bias and stereotypes. The workshop reinforced the value of building relationships with students. Small group breakout sessions helped personalize the information presented by Dr. Winger.” Others said they were more likely to take this type of course via distance format, that the stage was set for a safe learning space and the workshop inspired self-reflection on tough topics.

Overall, 79 percent of participants who completed the survey said they would recommend this professional development workshop to others and 78 percent would like to attend more professional development opportunities on this topic.

Equity in STEM is one of the top priorities of Iowa’s STEM Council with an active working group set to bring forth additional strategies at the Council’s fall convening.
Scale-Up Training Pivots Virtual
A STEM Scale-Up Program Provider provides virtual training and demonstrations of the STEM in Action lessons. More than one thousand educators are participating in professional development training to implement Scale-Up Program this fall.
As educators across Iowa prepare for the upcoming school year, more than 1,000 teachers and informal educators are taking part in professional development training to implement STEM Scale-Up Programs this fall.

A menu of 13 outstanding STEM programs were selected in January to “scale up” through Iowa’s PreK-12 schools, afterschool programs and other educational settings. Recipients were selected by Regional STEM Managers guided by their Regional STEM Advisory Boards based on need. While Scale-Up Program Providers were prepared to provide in-person training to recipients, they worked efficiently and effectively with Regional STEM Managers to rapidly shift the training to a virtual format.

Tens of thousands of students are expected to be impacted through the Scale-Up Program during the coming academic year. Students who participate in this program performed better on the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress compared to students who did not receive Scale-Up Programming. In 2018-2019, two percent more Scale-Up Program participants met proficient or advanced level benchmarks in mathematics, science and English language arts. Gains were even greater for minority students.

Developers and deliverers of exemplary STEM programs are invited to apply for scaling their program(s) across Iowa. The application window for programs to apply to be on the 2021-2022 Scale-Up Program menu opens August 17 and can be previewed at IowaSTEM.gov/scaleup-provider-application .

More information about the STEM Scale-Up Program can be found at IowaSTEM.gov/scale-up .
Externships Power Through
the Pandemic
The 2020 STEM Teacher Externship Forum, first-time virtual, brought together teacher externs and workplace hosts to reflect on summer experiences and discuss potential future opportunities.
Nearly 100 STEM Teacher Externs, extern mentors, STEM team members and former, current and prospective workplace hosts gathered virtually for the 2020 STEM Teacher Externship Forum earlier this month.

The forum kicked off with a presentation of project-based learning lessons compiled by each of the 48 intrepid teacher externs willingly professionally developing safely amidst a pandemic. STEM Council Executive Director Jeff Weld welcomed forum attendees, followed by a breakout session where teacher externs and workplace hosts split into meeting rooms to share about their experience and make classroom connections.

Tying their externships to a related opportunity, STEM BEST Project Coordinator Tanya Hunt shared how teachers and workplaces can expand on this summer’s work by getting involved in the STEM BEST Program.

"This program can extend the authentic learning experience just had through the extern experience into the classroom. Schools and businesses collaborate through these partnerships to provide engaging opportunities to students all the while building upon the local talent pipeline. It is a natural segue to anyone who has benefited from the experience of spending their summer as an extern,” said Hunt.

A STEM BEST Program awardee and former STEM Teacher Extern Marc Benedict shared firsthand experience about how impactful the program is for educators, community partners and especially students who participate.

A second breakout session was held for workplace hosts to take a deeper look at the Teacher Externship experience and for teachers to share professional development experiences and share resources.

Award-winning Sibley-Ocheyedan science teacher Mike Wedge closed the forum with reflections on how his own externship years ago has transformed what and how he teaches, charging all the externs to bring their own workplace adventures to students.

“I encourage all externs to let their experience continue to influence how you approach learning in your classroom. Furthermore, look for any opportunity to make a connection with local businesses and sponsors. And, finally, continue to influence your students by fostering an environment where they can productively struggle through a challenge and learn that mistakes are so important in learning,” said Wedge.

To learn more about how to get involved in the STEM Teacher Externships Program, visit IowaSTEM.gov/externships .
More Ways to Support STEM in Iowa
Are you interested in supporting STEM education in Iowa? There are many ways to get involved, including program support, application review, working groups and more! For more information, contact STEM Council Associate Director Carrie Rankin at rankin@iowastem.gov .
Contact the Iowa STEM Operations Center by phone at (319) 273-2959
or by email at info@IowaSTEM.gov.