Iowa’s STEM initiative continues to grow with 12 new STEM BEST® (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) Programs recognized, administered by the STEM Council. A total of 75 new and expanded STEM BEST Programs have been launched and expanded since 2014 involving more than 8,500 students across the state.
The STEM BEST Program provides support to school-business partnerships that bring teachers and industry professionals together to design a dynamic curriculum connected to future careers. This program opens the door for students to gain authentic workplace experience where they develop greater knowledge of the skills needed in STEM fields, such as advanced manufacturing, agriculture and health care.
“Providing students with access to STEM work-based learning experiences can transform their lives and have a real impact on Iowa’s future workforce,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds, STEM Council co-chair. “We deeply appreciate the dedication of educators and employers in communities across the state who together expose thousands of students to the skills needed in the workplace and the connection to classroom learning.”
The 12 new or expanded partnerships are supported by a $25,000 investment from the STEM Council. Participating employer partners often contribute a dollar-for-dollar match with some going above and beyond the cost-share requirement. Awards can be used for curriculum development and coordination, educator training and development in workplace-classroom integration and preparing the work-based learning environment.
The 2020 STEM BEST Program awardees are:
- Ames Community School District in the North Central STEM Region
- Cedar Falls Community School District in the Northeast STEM Region
- Cedar Valley Catholic in the Northeast STEM Region
- Clear Lake Community School District in the North Central STEM Region
- Emmetsburg Community School District in the Northwest STEM Region
- Lewis Central Community School District in the Southwest STEM Region
- Marshalltown Community School District in the North Central STEM Region
- MOC-Floyd Valley Community School District in the Northwest STEM Region
- Muscatine Community School District in the Southeast STEM Region
- North Fayette Valley Community School District in the Northeast STEM Region
- Pella Community School District in the South Central STEM Region
- Woodbine Community School District in the Southwest STEM Region
To be considered for a STEM BEST Program partner, applicants were required to submit a comprehensive proposal that included thorough and relevant STEM curriculum, valuable partnerships with community businesses or organizations, real-world learning opportunities and expertise at the postsecondary education and training level. These awardees will serve as models to share unique perspectives, strengths, demographics and program focus with other schools throughout Iowa.
Visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/STEMBEST for more information on the STEM BEST Program.