Hoover One of First Recipients of Iowa STEM Grant

Hoover High School is one of the first four recipients in the state of a new $50,000 grant award by the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council in support of advancing education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The award, which will be matched by DMPS, will help Hoover further develop its new STEM Academy within the school, which was begun in the fall of 2012 with a class of 52 female and 50 male students. The funding from the grant and the district will also help upgrade classrooms used for STEM education.

In addition to its recognition for STEM education, Hoover is also in the process of becoming accredited for the International Baccalaureate program.

Other grant recipients included Davenport, Mt. Pleasant and Sioux Center.

The following is an abstract of Hoover’s application for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council grant:

Hoover High School is one of five comprehensive high schools in Des Moines. Hoover serves approximately 1,000 students in grades 9-12 and is one of the most diverse schools in the state. Thirty-six languages are spoken by Hoover students, and students come from 23 countries. In an effort to increase interest and achievement in STEM, Hoover High School is proposing a STEM Redesigned Learning Environment to support the implementation of our STEM Academy begun in the fall of 2012 with the incoming freshman class. The composition of the STEM Academy is inclusive of the diverse student body with 52 girls and 50 boys participating. The STEM Academy is staffed with six science teachers, three math teachers, one technology/engineering teacher, and a member from the Hoover Administrative team. Students who apply and are accepted into the STEM Academy benefit from a very tight support system of STEM staff who meet regularly to insure students are thriving with their studies. Our goals for the Hoover STEM Academy are simply stated, Create the ideal STEM learning environment, Empower teachers through collaboration, Build a STEM-focused community and Inspire the next generation of innovators.

The following is a press release from the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council announcing the grant recipients:

The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council has named Davenport Community School District, Hoover High School of the Des Moines Community School District, Mount Pleasant Middle School and Sioux Center High School as the recipients of a $50,000 district-matched award to implement a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classroom in their schools. The recipients were chosen from a group of 23 applications submitted through a request for proposals released earlier this summer.

Initially, only three schools were to be funded, but with additional contributions a fourth school has been funded. Contributors are: Des Moines Area Community College, DMG Mori Seike/Ellison Technologies, Iowa Association of Business and Industry, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Kemin, Kinze Manufacturing, Inc., Pella Rolscreen Foundation, University of Iowa and Vermeer Charitable Foundation, Inc. Each of the four schools will serve as models for other schools around the state. These schools serve various populations in Iowa, both urban and rural in large and small communities.

“The broad cross section of these recipients speaks to the importance of innovative STEM education in the state of Iowa,” Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds said. “As the diversity of Iowa increases, both in the classroom and in the workforce, so does the need to educate students of all geographic, demographic and ethnic groups. The STEM learning environments will bring that focus in four model classrooms.”

All of the selected schools have in common a commitment to transform the learning space in three ways: (1) An altered physical and technological space that empowers learners to investigate and collaborate; (2) An innovative curricular and pedagogical approach that frames the teacher as a facilitator and students as real-world problem solvers working in groups across disciplinary boundaries; and (3) Connections to the world beyond the school walls through partnerships with business and industry.

Davenport Community School District will be implementing an active learning classroom that will integrate STEM coursework and highly focused vocational skills at West High School. Their curriculum will strengthen STEM disciplines with the necessary 21st Century Skills and other critical shortage areas, needed in today’s workforce.

Des Moines Hoover High School, which serves one of the most diverse student populations in the state, plans to launch a STEM Academy for 102 boys and girls. The academy’s goals are to create the ideal environment for empowered collaboration, a STEM-focused community and building a quality next generation of innovators.

Mount Pleasant Middle School is the only middle-level learning environment chosen to receive the award. The new classroom will replicate the University of Iowa’s Transform, Interact, Learn and Engage (TILE) classroom as a model in its learning environment to facilitate collaboration, peer instruction and activities enhanced through advanced technology. Their STEM classroom will serve as a prototype for a school redesign which may be duplicated in other classrooms in the following year.

Sioux Center High School has proposed a partnership with Dordt College to redesign learning spaces and curriculum. They will not only cost share, partner in professional development and connect the college and high school classrooms but they will also collaborate through close relationships across campuses.

“These schools are an example to the future of STEM education in Iowa,” said Mary Andringa, Advisory Council Co-Chair and Vermeer Corporation President and CEO. “With the combination of powerful community partnerships and relevant curriculum, the STEM learning environments will prepare students for their next steps in college and the workforce.”

Implementation of these four redesigned STEM learning environments will begin in spring 2014. All of the selected STEM learning environments also use at least one of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s nine scale-up programs. 987 schools and organizations in Iowa are currently impacted by the Advisory Council and its funding.

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About the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council: Formed in 2011, the Council is a 46-member, public-private partnership dedicated to building a strong STEM education foundation for all Iowans. For more information, go to www.IowaSTEM.gov.

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