Drop in to just about any school across Iowa this week and somebody’s bringing a world-class STEM experience to students through the five-year-old STEM Scale-Up Program initiative of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. Iowa Testing estimates that slightly more than half of all K-12 youth have by now enjoyed one or more of the STEM Council’s exemplary selections.
By mid-winter each year though, planners begin to set the table for the next round. In early January, the STEM Council’s Executive Committee met to approve a roster of rigorously-vetted candidates so that on January 24, the Iowa STEM Network team launched the 2017-18 STEM Scale-Up Program menu on behalf of the STEM Council. Nine outstanding STEM programs impressed reviewers with their evidence of effectiveness and are now made available to PreK-12 educators throughout the state.
The STEM Scale-Up Program is the STEM Council’s broadest-reaching initiative offered, ensuring both in school and out-of-school educators, from daycare providers to public librarians and afterschool club leaders to classroom practitioners and more, all have an equal opportunity to bring new STEM programming to the youth of Iowa.
Here are five reasons why educators should take part in the STEM Scale-Up Program this year:
- Each year about 2,000 educators impact up to 100,000 students through the initiative.
- Students who participate in the STEM Scale-Up Program score higher than students statewide on Iowa Assessments in mathematics, science and reading.
- Students who participate in the STEM Scale-Up Program show stronger interest in staying in Iowa and working in a STEM field.
- 81% of STEM Scale-Up Program educators feel that participating increased their knowledge of STEM topics.
- 78% of STEM Scale-Up Program educators express more confidence to teach STEM content. [Find the full results in the 2015-16 Iowa STEM Evaluation Report.]
All nine selected programs passed rigorous reviews, demonstrating:
- Appeal to diverse youth;
- Success in improving academic performance;
- Evidence of integrating STEM concepts;
- Fostering business-education-community partnerships;
- And, track records of sustainability.
This opportunity for Iowa educators is one of several offerings that help increase student interest and achievement in STEM, ultimately connecting them to STEM careers that await in Iowa.
The window of application for bringing one of these top STEM programs to classrooms and clubs next year lasts until Friday, March 3, 2017, at www.IowaSTEM.gov/2017-18-Scale-Up.