STEM BEST® (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) Program

Four Key Attributes of the STEM BEST® Program Model

1. Education Driven by Community Partners (e.g. business or industry) knowledge and practice

  • Real-world industry and/or student-led projects that connect students to industry knowledge base
  • Quality work-based learning experiences drive by local opportunities
  • Regional schools, districts, or district clusters collaborate with business and industry to maximize opportunities for students in a cost-effective model

2. Rigorous, Relevant, and Dynamic STEM Curriculum

  • Interdisciplinary instructional strategies foster creativity, innovation, and an "entrepreneurial mindset" through collaborative work-based learning opportunities
  • Driven by 21st Century skills needed in current and future workforce
  • Accounts for all learners, especially underrepresented populations
  • Mastery of state academic standards demonstrated through a competency-based approach

3. Authentic Partnerships

  • Engages community businesses and organizations (e.g., nonprofits, information education) and plans for local business and industry needs
  • Cluster of schools and/or school districts encouraged
  • Partner commitment narratives are detailed and consistent with the application description

4. Expertise at the post-secondary education and training level involved

  • Consulting with post-secondary experts and/or partners to see how STEM BEST® Program will meet the needs of students transitioning out of High School 

Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program

Teacher Externships began in the summer of 2009 with a few goals in mind:

  • Create lasting partnerships between workplaces and local schools.
  • Connect Teacher Extern experience with STEM content and 21st century skills identified in the Iowa Core.
  • Give students real-world career information about career possibilities right here in Iowa.
  • Give teachers the opportunity to see and use the latest real-world applications STEM disciplines in a local business or industry.

Teacher Externships are full-time, six-week temporary summer positions in local businesses and agencies for secondary teachers of mathematics, science and/or technology.  Teachers earn a stipend of up to $5,000 (including two paid professional development days), as well as three graduate credits through the University of Northern Iowa’s Continuing Education program.

Iowa STEM Teacher Award

Over the next 10 years, the number of STEM-related jobs will increase by 16 percent. It is crucial to Iowa’s economic growth to fill these roles with qualified candidates and it all starts with inspiring students to pursue STEM fields.

The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and Kemin Industries joined together to honor teachers who are inspiring Iowa’s students to develop a passion for STEM subjects. This award is for teachers who are making a significant difference in the lives of students across the state by providing excellent curriculum, encouraging lifelong learning and inspiring a passion for STEM beyond the classroom and into the future.

Formerly known as The STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching, this award will honor one teacher from each of the six STEM regions for their contribution and dedication to STEM education in Iowa. Each awardee receives $1,500, as well as another $1,500 for their classroom.