Iowa BIG North has itself a big week

Four-school partnership gets big boost

One of the better success stories in the New Hampton School District in the last couple years has been the involvement with “Iowa BIG North,” along with three other northern Iowa School Districts, and that four-school cross-district partnership received a big boost this week.

Iowa BIG North’s is one of 19 newly named STEM BEST Partnerships in Iowa — and the grant money that accompanies the title will help expand Iowa BIG North to students in two more districts this year. The partners in the program already include New Hampton, Charles City, Rockford and Osage, and the hope is to add both Turkey Valley and Riceville to that list.

“We’re actually pursuing an agreement with those two schools,” said New Hampton High School Principal Sarah Updegraff. “This grant puts us in a position where they can hire subs so their teachers can come over here to train. We’ve always talked about growing and expanding, but this is our first opportunity to openly invite these other school districts.”

Iowa BIG North is a program that helps businesses in our communities find solutions to problems. This benefits the business, as well as the students in Iowa BIG North, as they work on authentic problems together. Students from participating schools work as one across district lines on the initiatives.

STEM BEST Partnerships were founded in 2014 by the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, which is co-chaired by Gov. Kim Reynolds. The name STEM BEST is a combination of two acronyms: STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers).

An exact figure wasn’t released, but Iowa BIG North expects to receive $20,000-25,000 in grant funds to help equip the school districts with new technology for students teleconferencing with other district students or business partners. Of that money, $2500 will be set aside to aid the two-school expansion, hopefully starting in the 2018-19 school year.


For more of this article, see Friday's New Hampton Tribune.

New Hampton Tribune

10 North Chestnut Ave
New Hampton, IA 50659
Phone: (641) 394-2111

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