Sioux Center — The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council has named Sioux Center High School as one of the recipients of a $50,000 district-matched award to implement a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classroom in their schools. The other schools receiving $50,000 grants are Davenport Community School District, Hoover High School of the Des Moines Community School District, and Mount Pleasant Middle School.
Initially, only three schools were to be funded, but with additional contributions a fourth school has been funded. Contributors are: Des Moines Area Community College, DMG Mori Seike/Ellison Technologies, Iowa Association of Business and Industry, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Kemin, Kinze Manufacturing, Inc., Pella Rolscreen Foundation, University of Iowa and Vermeer Charitable Foundation, Inc. Each of the four schools will serve as models for other schools around the state. These schools serve various populations in Iowa, both urban and rural in large and small communities.
“The broad cross section of these recipients speaks to the importance of innovative STEM education in the state of Iowa,” Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds said. “As the diversity of Iowa increases, both in the classroom and in the workforce, so does the need to educate students of all geographic, demographic and ethnic groups. The STEM learning environments will bring that focus in four model classrooms.”
All of the selected schools have in common a commitment to transform the learning space in three ways: (1) An altered physical and technological space that empowers learners to investigate and collaborate; (2) An innovative curricular and pedagogical approach that frames the teacher as a facilitator and students as real-world problem solvers working in groups across disciplinary boundaries; and (3) Connections to the world beyond the school walls through partnerships with business and industry.
Sioux Center High School has proposed a partnership with Dordt College to redesign learning spaces and curriculum. They will not only cost share, partner in professional development and connect the college and high school classrooms but they will also collaborate through close relationships across campuses.
Davenport Community School District will be implementing an active learning classroom that will integrate STEM coursework and highly focused vocational skills at West High School. Their curriculum will strengthen STEM disciplines with the necessary 21st Century Skills and other critical shortage areas, needed in today’s workforce.
Des Moines Hoover High School, which serves one of the most diverse student populations in the state, plans to launch a STEM Academy for 102 boys and girls. The academy’s goals are to create the ideal environment for empowered collaboration, a STEM-focused community and building a quality next generation of innovators.
Mount Pleasant Middle School is the only middle-level learning environment chosen to receive the award. The new classroom will replicate the University of Iowa’s Transform, Interact, Learn and Engage (TILE) classroom as a model in its learning environment to facilitate collaboration, peer instruction and activities enhanced through advanced technology. Their STEM classroom will serve as a prototype for a school redesign which may be duplicated in other classrooms in the following year.
“These schools are an example to the future of STEM education in Iowa,” said Mary Andringa, Advisory Council Co-Chair and Vermeer Corporation President and CEO. “With the combination of powerful community partnerships and relevant curriculum, the STEM learning environments will prepare students for their next steps in college and the workforce.”
Implementation of these four redesigned STEM learning environments will begin in spring 2014. All of the selected STEM learning environments also use at least one of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s nine scale-up programs. 987 schools and organizations in Iowa are currently impacted by the Advisory Council and its funding.