Governor’s STEM Council To Highlight Accomplishments

Des Moines, Iowa — There’s going to be a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — or STEM — festival for middle schoolers at Dordt College on Saturday. Meanwhile, the governor’s STEM Advisory Council will highlight the accomplishments of the effort this Thursday at the capitol building in Des Moines. A preview was given at the governor’s news conference Monday. The focus on STEM began in 2011 and advisory council co-chair, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, says the Scale-Up programs have been key.
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(as she says)”Getting those high-quality programs in the hands of students, and these 10 outstanding STEM programs, I am happy to say are reaching over 117-thousand students in the State of Iowa,” according to Reynolds.

The legislature appropriated five-point-two million dollars for STEM programs in 2014-2015, and that is supplemented with support from other sources.


(as she says)”Scale Up programs I am happy to say are in more than 90-percent of the 338 school districts across the state of Iowa, as well as many non-public schools and out-of-school settings,” Reynolds says. ” And our goal is to be in 100-percent of the districts, and we hope to do that relatively soon.”

The executive director of the STEM Advisory Council, Jeff Weld, is also an associate biology professor at the University of Northern Iowa.


(as he says)”We’ve been at this for three-and-a-half years and I think we’re beginning to see the impact of our affect. We have a wonderful uptick in the number post-secondary community college and four-year college majors in the STEM fields that we are seeing lately,” Weld says. “We’re seeing wonderful evidence of public support and awareness of the STEM cause for our state. We are seeing an encouraging rise in the number of teachers earning math and science teaching endorsements.”

STEM information shows a 13-percent increase in the number of teachers in Iowa with one teaching endorsement in science or math.


(as he says)”Last year the Board of Educational examiners approved a new STEM endorsement. So, unlike your and my school experiences where we took math and we took science, kids of our not-to-distant future will be able to take STEM classes by teachers trained and prepared to teach interdisciplinary active, community-based, problem-solving approaches to learning,” Weld says.

Displays touting the work of the STEM Council will be set up in the capitol rotunda Thursday.

The STEM Festival at Dordt on Saturday will be made possible in part by the Governor’s STEM Scale-Up Initiative, Dordt College, and Iowa State University Extension.

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Senator Feenstra Weighs In On School Start Dates

Des Moines, Iowa — School start dates are on the minds of several northwest Iowans, especially school boards, administrators and athletic directors.
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The start date for next school year in the Sheldon Community School District is still up in the air, as it is for all of the school districts in northwest Iowa, due to the very high bar set by the Iowa Department of Education at Governor Terry Branstad’s request — for waivers to start school earlier than the week in which September first falls. Sports and other activities could also be affected. School leaders are saying a later start date would not only mean a later release date in the spring, but could affect standardized test scores, due to having less time to prepare.

We had a chance to talk with Iowa District 2 State Senator Randy Feenstra and he gives us an update as to some bills that could set a compromise date.


Governor Branstad wanted the later start dates to allow Iowans with school-aged children to attend the Iowa State Fair, and to a lesser extent extend the vacation season at destinations like the Iowa Great Lakes. But Feenstra says his office now seems open to a compromise.


Since school districts are in a time crunch, due to having to get the schedules finalized, we asked Feenstra how long he expects it to take to give them a definitive answer.


He says his district, which includes Sioux, O’Brien, and Cherokee counties, and a little bit of Plymouth County, is basically split 50/50 with those who want earlier and those who want later start dates.


Feenstra says he’s excited that that there will now be a set policy, with no more waivers.

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Spencer Man Arrested On Drug Charges

Spencer, Iowa — A Spencer man has been arrested on drug charges.
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The Spencer Police Department reports that during a traffic stop, 34-year-old Adam Gregory was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended driver’s license.

After further investigation, Spencer Police called out their K-9 unit. The dog alerted to the presence of narcotics. Officers say they found drug paraphernalia and a prescription medication.

Gregory was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of a prescription medication. He was booked into the Clay county jail.


Sheldon Council To Meet Wednesday

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon City Council will meet Wednesday February 18th with a rather brief agenda. The only items on Council Chambersthe main agenda are consideration of the audit for the current fiscal year and final pay estimate on the 2014 Runger Street Improvement project.

The consent agenda includes consideration of a new SCAT applicant, approval of agricultural deferments, renewal of the liquor license for the J & B bar, and consideration of a resolution on the destruction of certain city records.

Wednesday’s 4:30 meeting will be held in the upper level of the Sheldon Community Services Center.


Two Taken To Hospital After Accident

Sheldon, Iowa – The Sheldon Police have now issued the report about an accident in which two people were taken to the hospital last week.
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The Sheldon Police Department reports that about 11:45 AM on Wednesday, February 11, 2015, 36-year-old Cory Nagel of George was driving a 1999 Pontiac westbound on Sixteenth Street. Fifty-six year-old Dennis Leonard of Holstein, Iowa was southbound on Old Highway 60 in a 2007 Sterling truck. Thirty-year-old Nathan White of Sheldon was northbound on Old 60 in a 2006 Ford pickup.

The report says that Nagel was stopped at the stop sign on the east side of the intersection with Old 60. White was slowing down or was stopped, waiting to turn west onto Sixteenth Avenue. Nagel continued straight west on Sixteenth, crossing in front of Leonard’s truck. The officer says Nagel stopped while in the southbound lane of Old 60, causing Leonard to apply hard braking and swerve right in an attempt to avoid him, says the report. Leonard’s truck hit the car, causing the car to lose steering control and veer hard left into White’s pickup, and then roll onto its right side.

White and a passenger in his pickup, 70-year-old Archer Seaman of Hartley were transported to Sanford Sheldon by SCAT.

Nagel ‘s Pontiac sustained $3000 in damages, and Leonard’s Sterling truck and White’s pickup sustained $15,000 in damages, each.

Nagel was charged with Failure to Obey a Stop Sign.


STEM Fest Coming To Dordt

Sioux Center, Iowa — A STEM fest is planned at Dordt College later this month. Iowa State University Extension expert Cindy Cleveringa tells us about the STEM fest.


A $10 registration fee covers the cost of lunch, and Cleveringa says it’s open to all middle schoolers.


data binary codeIn addition to Iowa State University Extension, the STEM fest is made possible by the Governor’s Stem Scale Up Initiative and Dordt College.

If your browser or device cannot access the audio players above, here are the direct links to the audio sound bytes:
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