Des Moines Public Schools and Drake University go way back together. How far? Basically, to the very beginning of the school district. Hill M. Bell, the president of Drake at the time, was a leading advocate for the merger of neighboring school districts in order to establish the Des Moines Independent Community School District. As he said back in 1907: “It is certainly futile to think of a great city here if one portion of it selfishly ignores another portion; and I submit to you that selfishness is the only consideration that would permit the people of any district to use their influence against consolidation and a Greater Des Moines school system.”
So began a symbiotic relationship that’s ongoing and has taken many forms over many years. Fast forward a century or so, and the relationship between the two capital city educational institutions has taken many forms, both big and small. The DMPS Community Stadium at Drake University would be one more piece in this relationship to benefit students.
Other recent examples include:
- DMPS and Drake created a MSE in Culturally Responsive Leadership, a degree specifically designed for Des Moines teachers.
- Drake University’s Knapp Center hosts the Unified Sports Games, a partnership between DMPS and Special Olympics for disabled and non-disabled students to compete together.
- For more than a dozen years, Drake Stadium has been “home field” for the Roosevelt Roughriders football team.
- DMPS, Drake, DMACC formed the 3D Coalition to identify, education and hire more minority teachers.
- Drake’s School of Education has been a key partner in the work at DMPS, supported by the Wallace Foundation, to develop school principal leadership.
- An entrepreneurship program established between Drake and Hoover High School’s STEM Academy fosters students’ business skills.
- Drake, Principal Financial Group (PFG), Des Moines Public Schools, and the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines implemented a pilot program called the STEM Pathway Initiative to help low-income students with education and careers.
- The Wanda Everage Academic Success Symposium, sponsored by Nationwide Insurance Company and the Drake University School of Education, works with students of color to plan for college.
- Drake Bulldogs regularly show their support for neighborhood schools, from joining in “clap ins” on the first day of class to being mentors and reading buddies.
- Drake’s School of Education, with support from Nationwide Insurance, established the Griffin Academy, an after-school program focusing on STEM and the fine arts at McCombs Middle School and Studebaker Elementary School.
- Drake education majors serve as tutors, working with students at DMPS elementary schools.
- Drake’s Harmon Fine Arts Center has played host to programs sponsored by Movement 515 at DMPS, from poetry slams to its annual Teen Summit.
- The new Boys and Girls Club at Drake University provides programs and services for many DMPS students.