Gaining ground on the STEM endorsement

Three STEM endorsements are now operational in Iowa for K-8, 5-8 and K-12 STEM specialist.

Teachers and teacher candidates in Iowa now have the option of picking up an endorsement to teach STEM thanks to a collaborative effort of the STEM Council and the Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE).

Currently, three institutions, Grand View University, Drake University and St. Ambrose University, have operationalized the pathway with a dozen more colleges and universities working to hatch programs. Thirty-five representatives of 20 higher education institutions alongside representatives of the Iowa Department of Education and the BOEE convened at St. Ambrose University in early October to temperature check on challenges to roll out. Limitations, such as the lack of engineering courses or integrated STEM methodology courses, became opportunities for collaboration as faculty from across institutions compared notes and committed to sharing.

STEM minors, masters and makerspaces funneling into STEM endorsement paths are in development while the STEM Council’s design committee continues to advise the BOEE on fidelity to intent of the new endorsement. Two hallmark examples of that intent were highlighted at the meeting: new, integrated STEM content and methods courses rather than re-purposed existent courses, as well as authentic 30-hour STEM experiences for candidates.

Teachers equipped to integrate the subjects in an active, investigative, community-linked classroom environment are the end goal of the endorsement, which will complement the innovative STEM BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) model sweeping Iowa. For more information about the STEM endorsement, send an e-mail to Info@IowaSTEM.gov.

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