2021 STEM BEST® Program Partners

The STEM BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) Program focuses on teachers and industry professionals working side-by-side to craft curriculum and projects that prepare students for exciting STEM careers local to their community in manufacturing, information technology, bioscience (agriculture and medicine), finance and more.

The STEM Council Executive Committee voted to award 22 competitively-selected school partnerships. The 2021 STEM BEST Program partners are:

Ames Community School District in the North Central STEM Region

Science in the City (SitC) is a community event and Ames Middle School (AMS) afterschool program hosted at the Ames Public Library. SitC features three to five-person middle school student teams advised by an Ames High Mentor. The teams partner with a local business to investigate how STEM is an integral part of its trade.

Contact: Anthony Jones at anthony.jones@ames.k12.ia.us

CAM Community School District in the Southwest STEM Region

Explore entrepreneurship by planning and opening a student-run storefront collaboratively with community partners. With the intent to sell student-made projects which are created within several CTE classes at CAM, industrial arts, plasma cutter class, and small-business class.

Contact: Shelly Miller at smiller@cam.k12.ia.us

Cedar Rapids Community School District (Metro H.S.) in the Southeast STEM Region

METRO STEAM academy model consists of design and construction phases of a greenhouse. The greenhouse will serve as a cross-curricular learning space, a farm to table nutrition/health program, an entrepreneurship outlet, and a culinary arts workforce development.

Contact: Chuck Tonelli at mtonelli@crschools.us

Cedar Rapids Community School District (Thomas Jefferson H.S.) in the Southeast STEM Region

Kindergarten through sixth grade model to expand Makerspace program, pairing students with community and business volunteers to address and solve problems using 21st century skills and knowledge.

Contact: Charlie Goetzinger at cgoetzinger@crschools.us

Central Community School District in the Northeast STEM Region

Expanding to include an elementary STEM BEST Program to enhance the skills that future students bring to the secondary Clayton County BEST program. Through the expanded Makerspace program, students will be paired with community and business volunteers to address problems using 21st century skills and knowledge. 

Contact: Jarod Bormann at jbormann@central.k12.ia.us

Clinton Community School District in the Southeast STEM Region

Student driven program partnering with Keep Iowa Beautiful and Downtown Clinton Alliance to rebuild mural program as well as provide professional development for staff to be trained in STEM Innovator increasing efforts to build in project-based learning experiences

Contact: Matthew Tobin at matt.tobin@csdkq.org

Creston Comm School District - Middle School in the Southwest STEM Region

Provide STEM to middle school students where career exploration begins. Proposal cites projects to include Future Fest/STEM Fair, Digital Student Portfolio and Lunch and Learn opportunities.

Contact: Kimberly Fourez at kfourez@crestonschools.org

Creston Comm School District - Elementary School in the Southwest STEM Region

The Creston ECC program will connect STEM-focused instruction with thematic activities and curriculum. An Innovation Zone will include retail centers, medical play centers, the problem stop where critical thinking will be used, and sensory activities including art, music and design.

Contact: Kimberly Fourez at kfourez@crestonschools.org

Don Bosco Catholic School System in the Northeast STEM Region

Program for all 11th and 12th-grade students to participate in a minimum of one semester of work-based learning experience. Students will explore different career paths, network with businesses, and translate what they have learned in the classroom to real-life applications.

Contact: Casey Redmond at credmond@boscocatholic.org

Earlham Community School District in the Southwest STEM Region

Build and align a systemic K-12 STEM experience by affording educational leaders in district resources and time to accomplish curriculum redesign and professional development. Initial opportunities for students include STEM-focused clubs for grades 3-5 during and after school, a walking field trips to understand their STEM connection, and a K-8 STEM Family Night.

Contact: Kristin Sheffield at ksheffield@ecsdcards.com

Eastern Allamakee Community School District in the Northeast STEM Region

The community partnership program at Eastern Allamakee Community Schools (EACS) will strive to connect local business and industry partners with students in grades 9-12 of all ability levels and academic status. Goals of the program initially are focused on building a program to encourage students to use passion driven projects, both student created and business/industry driven.

Contact: Sarah Updegraff  at supdegraff@kee.k12.ia.us

Howard-Winneshiek Community School District in the Northeast STEM Region

The "Cadet Zone" project will enhance job readiness skills for students by partnering with area businesses to promote creativity and 21st century skills. "Cadet Zone Cafe", "Cadet Zone Merchandise Store", and "Cadet Zone Media Productions" are the three branches that will offer students opportunities to work alongside businesses, obtaining a unique set of skills for the work force.

Contact: Alicia Denner at adenner@howard-winn.k12.ia.us

Keokuk Community School District in the Southeast STEM Region

Keokuk and Fort Madison high schools would like to partner with business and industry in addition to the economic development groups to create a regional career exploration center. The goal for creating this center is to provide Lee County students expanded opportunities in different career strands to build on the CTE courses currently offered at the high schools.

Contact: Doreen Underwood doreen.underwood@keokukschools.org

Linn-Mar Community School District in the Southeast STEM Region

Venture Academics will focus on extending learning to real world applications, problems, and solutions.  Areas of study include Graphic Arts, Life Science, Business Foundations, Advanced Business, Behavioral Science, Writing, Health Science, Earth Science, Environmental Science, and Government and Law.

Contact: Mark Hutcheson at mhutcheson@linnmar.k12.ia.us

MFL MarMac Community School District in the Northeast STEM Region

Community projects provide authentic problems for students to solve. Businesses present projects to students that will impact their business and provide real world experience for students. Also a means for students to initiate authentic problems for which they feel a passion and then seek partners to carry out their vision.

Contact: Melissa Haberichter at melissa.haberichter@mflmm.k12.ia.us

MOC-Floyd Valley Community School District in the Northwest STEM Region

Developing trifold program offering Advanced Manufacturing Connection Program, launch a Business & Entrepreneurship Pathway as well as a Registered Apprenticeship Program in welding.

Contact: Michael Mulder at mmulder@mocfv.org

North Tama County Community School District in the Northeast STEM Region

An integrative STEM and literacy environment for K-2 classrooms through engaging local partners in STEM learning, equipping innovative classrooms, professional learning for faculty to be leaders in integrative STEM and literacy.

Contact: Susan Johnson at susan.johnson@ntredhawks.org

Pella Community School District in the South Central STEM Region

Known as WorkSMART Connector, the model will guide students from career awareness through career experiences from 2nd through 12th grade, and into local careers. Modules will be developed around information technology, hospitality, patient care and early childhood education (identified as in-demand careers in Marion County).

Contact: Lowell Ernst at lowell.ernst@pellaschools.org

Riverside Community School District in the Southwest STEM Region

The Riverside Sports Television Network Club (RSTN) with members from Riverside Middle-Senior High School, is working toward the development of organizational, communicational, and operational skills, live broadcasts of extracurricular events, concerts, and other community-based events are produced.

Contact: Jamie Meek at jmeek@riverside.k12.ia.us

Sioux Center Community School District in the Northwest STEM Region

Career Explorations class for ninth and tenth grade students bringing local businesses and industries into school to teach students about their business and the various career opportunities that are available. Also funds will be used is to offer junior and senior students describe what the students would do

Contact: Jill Harskamp at jill.harskamp@scwarriors.org

Wapsie Valley Community School District in the Northeast STEM Region

Wapsie Valley School District model to take students out of the traditional classroom setting and immerse them in a business environment and encourage innovation while developing professional skills, problem solving and expanded career exploration opportunities.

Contact: TJ Murphy at tmurphy@wapsievalleyschools.org

Woodbine Community School District in the Southwest STEM Region

Establish a three-prong blueprint where students will be engaged in learning trade skills, developing a business plan, and participating in character education centered on leadership skills. 9th and 10th grade students will take part in the Occupational Exploration Program Field Trips where they visit community colleges and businesses that focus on the trades industry.

Contact: Tracy Kelley at tkelley@woodbine.k12.ia.us