STEM BEST® Partner: “INSPIRE” at Davenport West High School

Davenport West High School students Brandon Seamer, 10th grade, and Kailey Fellner, 12th grade, work side-by-side on real-word projects for companies like MA Ford with their school’s CNC machine. It is part of the “INSPIRE” program, a 2015 STEM BEST Partn

“Davenport West High School is working to ensure that the coursework offered is reflective of community needs and meant to graduate students into post-secondary programs that further their manufacturing education, with eventual placement in local jobs that strengthen the industry in the Quad Cities,” said Jennifer Boyd, curriculum specialist for Davenport West High School’s “INSPIRE” program.

Growing and keeping Iowa students is part of the STEM Council’s Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers (BEST) mission, and this 2015 STEM BEST® Partner helps get students towards that goal.

Program leaders used the $25,000 STEM BEST award to build a manufacturing pathway within its school-wide effort called, “INSPIRE,” that helps students identify, select and pursue college and career opportunities available locally to them.

Boyd says 13 students in grades 10-12 work in the manufacturing pathway this year, including three female students, with interest from 43 new applicants for the coming academic year.

And, the business and community support has helped corral that interest with mentors visiting the classrooms regularly or connecting digitally to help students work through challenging problems. Scott Community College even offers a basic electricity certificate to students completing the Advanced Manufacturing Career Academy through INSPIRE. Another partner, MA Ford, hired two students this past year for a more immersive, work-based learning internship as well.

“As our program has become more established, the number of applicants has increased substantially, and the number of interested mentors has grown as well,” Boyd said. “Our lead teachers have also begun receiving requests from teachers in other districts to visit and view the integrated capstone course being run, and they are more than happy to share. Progress is very positive at this point, and we look forward to continuing to build this innovative program.”

For more information on this program, visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/STEMBEST/INSPIRE and stay tuned for our announcement on November 2 for our 2016 STEM BEST partners.

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