(CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Jan. 17, 2013) The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is looking for excellent STEM programs to be offered to Iowa’s PreK-12 students by announcing the launch of the 2013-14 STEM Scale-Up Program Request for Proposal (RFP). The purpose of the application is to identify high-quality projects that have demonstrated success in increasing student interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and can be implemented in any size community across the state during the 2013-14 school year.
In its second season, the STEM Scale-Up Program is one of the first initiatives implemented by the Governor's STEM Advisory Council created to quickly spread the excitement of STEM to Iowa students. In May of 2012, the Council created a network of six regional STEM hubs to meet local STEM needs across the state. In October, the Council announced that more than 900 educators would participate in scale-up programs in 2012-13 provided through the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. A $4.7 million appropriation from the 2012 Legislature is making the Council’s work possible.
“The Council was thrilled with the caliber of STEM programming options we received last year, which generated over 900 applications for STEM programs, from all over Iowa, and involved more than 40,000 students in STEM education,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, co-chair of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. “In the second year, we are striving to reach even more students and remain focused on areas within the state that lack access to STEM education programming."
In 2012, 38 program proposals were received from education organizations offering programming that were easily administered anywhere in the state and that opened new and exciting possibilities to Iowa's students. Ultimately, 12 STEM-related programs were selected as a “menu of STEM programs” for local educators in both formal and informal settings to offer to students.
“We have so many success stories of kids having their horizons opened, and having a lot of fun, as a result of this first-year program,” said Jeff Weld, executive director, Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. “The goal this year is to dramatically increase the number of children participating in STEM programs all over the state. This year we hope to offer even higher quality programming, amplifying areas such as mathematics and early childhood programs which were comparatively light in last year’s menu. But it’s up to the type of applications we receive and to the evaluation committee.”
Projects eligible for scale-up must provide evidence of successfully meeting project goals and criteria for scalability. The most competitive proposals, which will come from educational institutions, nonprofit organizations or private industry, will be those that are clearly evidence-based, well-planned and able to accommodate a rapid growth in participants.