For the founding members of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council it likely comes as a mild shock to be reminded that last month marked the STEM Council’s fourth anniversary. Many will recall the first meeting at the Science Center of Iowa (site of our redux on December 16) on Halloween day in 2011 where two recommendations set a course for success: (1) Establish a regional network and (2) Create a scaling model for tried-and-true programs.
A great array of programs and a significant number of Iowans have been engaged since that epic launch. In sum, ten STEM Council Seals of Approval have been awarded, three colleges now offer the STEM teaching endorsement with a dozen more in development, six rockstar educators have earned the I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award, eight STEM Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers (BEST) are operational, 13 Redesigned Learning Environments (RLE) pepper the state, scores of informal educators have undergone professional development by the STEM Council’s Active Learning Community, 150 Microsoft IT Academy sites are certifying, almost 300 Iowa STEM Teacher Externships have fused schools with industries, more than 35 community STEM festivals have enthralled thousands of families throughout the network, 400 schools have brought the “Hour of Code” to their students and about 7,000 educators introduced top STEM programs to some 300,000 youngsters through the STEM Scale-Up Program within nearly every school district in Iowa.
Couple all of this reach with the mass mailings and social media, presentations and news bits, business and community partnerships and advocacy and volunteerism, coursing through STEM Council and Regional Advisory Board members, and the impact so well-detailed in the STEM Council’s annual evaluation report makes perfect sense. Entering year five, Iowa’s wave of inspired young STEM-ers bring into play new metrics related to workforce and employment. May our next four years match or exceed the accomplishments of the last, coming straight outta STEM Council and changing lives in Iowa.