Around this same time in 2014, the STEM Council first welcomed the inaugural five STEM BEST® (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) Partners to the team. Two years later, those innovative partners have more than tripled to 18, consisting of 35 school districts working with more than 150 local employers and building school+business partnerships relevant to their community’s needs.
Earlier this month, the STEM Council’s executive committee voted unanimously to award 10 new STEM BEST Partners. Each one had to describe in an in-depth proposal their community’s version of STEM BEST, noting how they would develop STEM curriculum driven by industry need and create valuable partnerships with business and higher education.
One of the new STEM BEST Partners is the first elementary school awardee that aspires to establish an in-school coffee shop in partnership with a local coffee brewing business to show students the science behind the bean growing and roasting before creating their own version to sell. Other new BEST partners include a consortium of seven school districts working together to bring work-based learning projects from local businesses to students; and a parochial high school focused on STEM career exploration using virtual reality.
Each awardee received $25,000 thanks to a portion of STEM’s state appropriation and private investments from Corporate Partners. The 2016 STEM BEST Partners are cost-sharing a total of $566,234 and bring in 60 business and community partners:
- Assumption High School in Davenport
- Boone Community School District
- Fort Madison Community High School
- IKM-Manning Community School District
- Muscatine Community School District
- North Cedar Elementary School in Cedar Falls
- Spencer High School
- Story County Consortium of Ames, Ballard, Collins-Maxwell, Colo-NESCO, Gilbert, Nevada, and Roland-Story School Districts
- Waukee APEX
- West Delaware County Community School District
For more information about these models, please visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/STEMBEST/2016.