Since 2014, 37 STEM BEST® models have been established across Iowa. These school+business partnerships create work-based learning experiences where students apply science, technology, engineering and mathematics education to gain real-world workplace exposure. Two of these models are highlighted below.
North Cedar Elementary School in Cedar Falls, Iowa, received a STEM BEST® award in 2016. Since receiving the award, they have worked in partnership with Sidecar Coffee to learn about the science of roasting and brewing coffee and the process involved in creating and marketing their own product. A total of 74 bags of coffee were sold in the first order to families within the school. They plan to grow the program to make coffee available to the entire district.
Marshalltown Learning Academy was created by Marshalltown schools to provide a personalized learning environment for students. With a goal of all students leaving the academy with a meaningful plan, the program offers creative scheduling and flexibility for students to gain work-based learning experience. They received a STEM BEST® award in 2017 and have hit the ground running by meeting with 65 local businesses this year. With a handful of businesses already partnering with the program, they are well on their way to meeting their goal.
Information about additional STEM BEST® models can be found at https://iowastem.gov/STEMBEST.
Valuable resources and supporting documents related to the 2018 STEM BEST® Program are now available at www.IowaSTEM.gov/STEMBEST/application. The actual application portal will open in early June.