2021-2022 STEM Scale-Up Program Provider Request for Proposal (RFP)

The Scale-Up Program of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, a signature investment of state and private funds in students and educators with ample accumulated evidence of effect. The Council’s intention is to bring top STEM education opportunities to all learners, especially those historically underserved. The intent is to seed, jumpstart or expand little-known and exemplary programs proven to inspire and educate PreK-12 students, enabling educational organizations to sustain beyond the Council’s trial investment.    

The Request for Proposals is now closed for 2021-2022 Iowa STEM Scale-Up Program providers interested in providing STEM programming in Iowa. 

(Please note: Iowa's Scale-Up program is independent of the STEMworks database of WestEd. If you're interested in being listed there, please visit stemworks.wested.org)

Summary of important dates and deadlines:

  • August 17, 2020: Request for Proposals posted and disseminated.
  • September 11, 2020, 12:00 PM Central Standard Time: Webinar for interested STEM program providers WATCH RECORDING HERE
  • October 5, 2020, 11:59 PM Central Standard Time (just before midnight): Proposal submission deadline.
  • October 5 - December 6, 2020: Review period.
  • December 7, 2020: Proposers notified.
  • December 2020-January 2021: Selected Program Providers collaborate with STEM Council network administrators to prepare materials for the educator application phase.
  • January - April 2021: Programs marketed to Iowa educators.
  • January 11, 2021: Educator application opens
  • March 5, 2021, 11:59 PM Central Standard Time: Educator application submission deadline.
  • March - April 2021: Regional STEM Advisory Boards determine awardee educators.
  • April 9, 2021: Awardees notified.
  • May 2021: Program Providers introduced to awarded educators to begin planning.
  • Summer 2021: Training, professional development in preparation for program implementation academic year 2021-2022.

Eligible applicants

STEM programs that serve PreK-12 grade audiences in or out of school with the capacity to deliver professional development/training and materials in Iowa are eligible for the STEM Scale-Up Program. Professional development/training is appropriate for Iowa STEM Scale-Up Programs when preparing an educator to implement a student kit, curriculum, activity, lesson or new course of study in STEM.

Process Overview

The Iowa STEM Scale-up process has three stages:

  1. Iowa reviewers selected and trained by the STEM Advisory Council review programs against the Iowa Scale-Up RFP Rubric to assess their readiness to go to scale in Iowa.
  2. Programs selected for scale-up in Iowa are offered to educators across the state in spring of 2021. Educators apply to bring the program(s) to their students over the 2021/2022 academic year. Implementation training will occur in summer, 2021. Rare exceptions may be made for training in summer, 2022.
  3. Advisory boards in each of six STEM regions in Iowa determine which of the Scale-Up educator applications they will award in their regions. Not all eligible programs are equally implemented in all six regions of Iowa.

Programs that were selected for Iowa Scale-Up for the 2020/2021 or any past year must submit a complete proposal again to be considered for 2021/2022 Scale-Up eligibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the Iowa STEM Scale-Up Provider Request for Proposals (RFP) open?

The application period is open from August 17 to October 5, 2020. CLICK HERE for a copy of the application. Here is a HELP GUIDE for the online submission portal.

Where can I find the Iowa STEM Scale-Up RFP rubric?

CLICK HERE for a copy of the application rubric used by evaluators to assess program proposals. The RFP application portal will open August 17, 2020.

How should we communicate our budget/pricing structure?

Click on the button below to dowload a budget template.

What is allowed for the administrator/Facilities and Administration (F&A) fee within the proposal budget?

Indirect costs, also known as Facilities and Administrative costs (F & A) or overhead costs: we allow providers to factor in the expense of facilities operation and maintenance costs, and administrative expenses, commonly categorized as indirect costs. We require that such costs be built in as a portion of the per unit cost of the program deliverable, up to 5% of the per unit cost*.

In the budget template, enter these F & A in the associated administrative costs line.

*Indirect costs are an ideal space for cost share, and many providers use F & A as their cost share component.  We acknowledge F & A beyond 5% as cost share. 

What are the program capacity and funding requirements?

The legislature supports Scale-Up at just over $3 million total for FY2020. That amount may vary year to year. Typically, funds are distributed across ten to twelve programs that are selected for scaling across Iowa every year. The funds are distributed through a cost reimbursable model. Single program provider funding through the STEM Council across six regions can reach six figures, depending upon how many educators select the program from the menu and how many educators who select the program are awarded the program by the regional advisory boards. Numerous factors influence total funds to providers, including marketing effectiveness, alignment with educators' goals and standards, number of educator applications across programs at the regional level. There is no assurance by the STEM Council that any program will be scaled. It is market driven.

What kinds of programs are you looking for this year? The pandemic has changed a lot about education, has it changed Iowa STEM's priorities?

Strategic Priorities*:

  • Computational thinking (elementary, middle or high school levels)
  • Early learning (PreK-3) STEM
  • Agricultural science (elementary, middle or high schools levels)
  • Ecology and energy education (elementary, middle or high schools levels)
  • Mathematics, especially applied and contextual to students' lives (elementary, middle or high schools levels)
  • STEM and arts integration (elementary, middle or high schools levels)
  • Transdisciplinary (integrated) S-T-E-M (elementary, middle or high schools levels)
  • STEM careers (especially with local context) - ideally an element of any Scale-Up proposal
  • Digital/virtual delivery modes of all of the above

*Proposals for other topical fields will also be considered.

Can we submit proposals for multiple programs in the same cycle?

Yes. In fact, individual proposals of deliverable education programs are required, as opposed to a “blanket” proposal that covers multiple distinct, deliverable programs.

What is required for a separate proposal?

If multiple programs are being considered, programs that require a separate training must be submitted in a separate proposal.

What is the maximum file size for an uploaded document?

A file may not exceed 2MB.

Can we get some pointers on what you expect for rigorous evaluation?

The webinar will include information regarding evaluation. Essentially, the rubric contains information about what is considered for each section of the proposal. Reviewers will be looking for strong evidence that programs meet the criteria listed in the application. Show evidence, rather than telling about it, and be as clear and concise as possible.

I have more questions. Who should I contact? 

For more information on the Iowa STEM Scale-Up Program, please reach out to Dr. Sarah Derry, South Central Regional Manager, who coordinates this function for the STEM Council. Questions directed to and answered by Dr. Derry will be made public on this page on Monday, September 28, after which no further questions will be accepted for response.
For other questions or technical assistance with your application, please contact info@iowastem.org

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