The STEM Council invests in the school district’s business-education partnership

The Iowa Governor’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Advisory Council recently invested in the Dubuque Community School District to help grow its STEM RLE (Redesigned Learning Environment) model in Iowa.

The district is one of 12 programs across the state to receive the $25,000 cost-matched grant, designed to transform typical K-12 classroom environments and methods to unite business and education while developing clear pathways from STEM education to STEM careers in the state. The grants were awarded to grow either a STEM RLE model or a STEM BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers Model), both developed in 2014 to serve as examples of business-education partnerships.

“The STEM RLE model engages students in a more collaborative, technological environment that prepares them for STEM success in college or career training after high school,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, co-chair of the STEM Council.

In Dubuque, the funding will allow for a learning environment redesign of one classroom at Dubuque Senior High School and one at Hempstead High School. These spaces will be used by several courses in the Career and Technical Education program, including Pre-Engineering, Electricity/Energy and Power, DC Electricity, AC Electricity, Video Production and Electronics. Each room will furniture designed to foster collaboration, software to allow for presentation directly from any computer in the room, an interactive projector and a webcam/microphone system to connect with resources outside the district.

The STEM Council’s executive committee voted unanimously to award and support 12 of 22 proposed partnerships that bring to the table a total cost-share commitment of $630,628. The $300,000 STEM Council investment made possible through a combination of state and private sector funds is divided equally among these 12 awardees to purchase equipment and provide teacher training.

Dubuque’s STEM RLE program will cost-share more than $30,000 and partner with local businesses, including John Deere Dubuque Works, IIW Engineers & Surveyors PC and more, to redesign two classrooms that will allow students to collaborate with technology in a pre-engineering curriculum developed in part by partnering businesses.

To be selected for the award, applicants submitted an in-depth proposal, considering factors like education driven by business and industry need, rigorous, relevant and dynamic STEM curriculum and authentic partnerships. The programs bring various strengths in community partnerships, district demographics and program focus and will serve as models or prototypes for business-education partnerships across the state.