Scaling the best of STEM to young Iowans

Sixth-graders at Lewis Central Middle School in Council Bluffs enjoy Engineering is Elementary, one of 11 programs offered to educators and their students on the 2016-17 STEM Scale-Up Program menu.
Sixth-graders at Lewis Central Middle School in Council Bluffs enjoy Engineering is Elementary, one of 11 programs offered to educators and their students on the 2016-17 STEM Scale-Up Program menu.

The launch of the STEM Scale-Up Program is the most significant annual undertaking by the STEM Council’s operations team. This month marks the start of a rollout of the best of STEM to more than 100,000 Iowan students with the support of a couple thousand educators. These educators, who apply and ultimately implement a program off the STEM Scale-Up Program menu, include PreK-12 teachers, after-school club leaders, daycare providers and other active learning community members.

Results from the 2014-2015 Iowa STEM evaluation report show all grade levels of students who participated in the STEM Scale-Up Program scored an average of six percentage points higher in National Percentile Rank on the Iowa Assessments in both mathematics and science compared to students statewide. The higher test scores are, in turn, leading 9 out 10 students to develop a stronger interest in at least one STEM subject or career. On top of that, more than 75 percent of past educators continue their program after the STEM Council’s financial support ends, inspiring students for years to come. Now, the 2016-17 Scale-Up Program menu has debuted, ranging from building robots and coding programs to conducting agricultural field experiences and learning about STEM careers. All 11 selected programs underwent a competitive review process, proving an appeal to diverse youth, a demonstrated success in improving academic performance, fostering business-education partnerships and more.

It’s a simple philosophy: Find what works, deliver it across Iowa and fuel the STEM workforce pipeline in Iowa. Educators interested in bringing the best of STEM to their learners may apply until March 1 at www.IowaSTEM.gov/2016-17-Scale-Up.

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