Dear Iowa STEM Community,
The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is in for reincarnation. After eleven years of leading-edge K-12 programming, a web of educational innovation has been woven across Iowa. From Sheldon to Keokuk, Stanton to Cresco, and all points in between, nearly every one of Iowa’s 328 public school districts has been STEMified. Libraries too. Daycares. Homeschools and private schools. All told, over a million youth and thousands of teachers have been inspired by the promise and purpose wrapped in a strong STEM education.
What evidence has accumulated around participating in STEM? Higher scores on Iowa’s statewide mathematics and science tests. Reading too, with nonwhite learner gains closing achievement gaps. Greater interest among young Iowans to pursue classes and careers in high-demand STEM fields. Doubled post-secondary enrollments in community college and university STEM majors. Deeper ties between schools and workplaces. Increased student interest in living and working in Iowa after graduation. And a whopping 95 percent of Iowans unified around making STEM a priority in their local school districts.
Yet, we have more work to do. Not all children and educators have taken advantage of STEM opportunities. Not all businesses and communities have joined in. Far from it. Thus, it is with great potential that we prepare to align more tightly with the Iowa Department of Education. As part of Governor Reynolds’ goal of more efficient and effective state government, numerous agency re-alignments have been studied for enactment through legislation, STEM is one of them. The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is proposed to be moved into a new Office of Innovation at the Department of Education. There, our innovation impact both within the administrative system as well as across the education landscape of the state, is expected to expand considerably. We expect to sustain the high-quality portfolio of services currently offered by maintaining the structures and personnel that make Iowa STEM so effective. Our reincarnation will be July 1, 2023, and we’ll keep our leaders, clients, constituents and friends updated on progress through this newsletter.
Please communicate any questions, concerns or advice to me at Weld@IowaSTEM.org.
In service to you and our Council’s co-chairs Governor Reynolds and Diane Young, alongside your network team,
Jeff Weld, executive director