STEM Day at the Capitol

STEM Day at the Capitol

On February 19, 2020 students and educators from George Washington Elementary and Keokuk High School were invited to present during STEM Day at the Capitol so legislators could see the impact of programs implemented through the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. The Keokuk Community School District has Scale Up programs in every building from Preschool through high school including Pint Size Science, Engineering is Elementary, STEM In Action, Differentiated Math Centers, Making STEM Connections, Engineering the Future, Computer Science Principles, and Bootstrap Data Science.

State Representative Jeff Kurtz is a big supporter of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and is impressed with STEM implementation is Keokuk. Kurtz took students on a tour of the capitol and said, “You are our future. We are investing in you.” Kristine Bullock, the Southeast Iowa Regional STEM Manager, State Representative Dave Jacoby, and Kurtz have all visited Keokuk classrooms to see STEM programs in action. STEM Council Executive Director Jeff Weld also expressed his appreciation of the efforts and progress to expand opportunities for Keokuk students. 

Pictured above, Fifth graders Baylee Billings and Olivia Claus demonstrated the Coding Mouse, which is part of the STEM In Action Scale Up, for Representative Kurtz. Diane Berner piloted this curriculum which is now being used with students as young as kindergarten to introduce computer science concepts. 

Legislators genuinely engaged with students to find out how the programs were being implemented and were impressed with what they heard.  The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council also has hard data to show the positive effects of its programs. As a group, students who have participated in a Scale Up program score higher in math, science, and reading than those who have not.

From the webpage:

Since 2012, the STEM Council has partnered with some of the most successful STEM education programs that have reached up to 100,000 young Iowa learners each year, engaging them in exemplary STEM curriculum across the state. Thousands of educators in and out of schools across Iowa have delivered exciting units in robotics, coding, engineering design, agriculture, animal science and more. 

“Seeing children actively engaged in STEM in classrooms and afterschool programs is what the STEM Council is all about. As external evaluations show a positive impact, the Scale-Up programs will continue to be vital partners in our mission to deliver the best possible STEM education to Iowa students.”

Governor and Co-Chair of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Kim Reynolds

STEM is vital for economic development and quality job growth in Iowa. Interest and achievement in STEM disciplines advances Iowa’s workforce and economy. Business partners can accelerate the progression of STEM talent development by collaborating with educators, policymakers and students to improve strategies in STEM learning.

After piloting STEM In Action and Differentiated Math Centers with a few Hawthorne teachers this year, Berner has submitted applications to expand Scale Up participation for 2020-2021 to every regular classroom in the building. Ulloa is applying to add a Project Lead the Way Cybersecurity course at the high school.

High school students Arya Chaudhari, Brett-Lynn James, Wren Richardson, and Brooklyn Seabold demonstrated Bootstrap Data Science with Pyret, a programming language and data analysis tool being implemented in Beth Deacon’s math class with support from instructional coach, Natalie Ulloa.

2020 Budget


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