STEM BEST® (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers)

STEM BEST Collage2

“Iowa companies must be able to hire enough skilled workers so they can grow and innovate, and more Iowans deserve to have the skills needed for rewarding careers. Through STEM BEST, educators and business leaders work together with students to strengthen Iowa’s talent pipeline and close the skills gap. STEM BEST is one of many programs that promise to help reach our Future Ready Iowa goal of 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce having education or training beyond high school by 2025.” 
- Governor Kim Reynolds, co-chair of the STEM Council

Since 2014, The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council has awarded seventy-six (76) STEM BEST programs with an opportunity to grow a series of community collaborations involving school+business partnerships. The goal of the STEM BEST program is to encourage education and industry to work together to design curriculum and projects to better prepare students for STEM careers in their communities. Check out opens in a new windowSTEM BEST for more information.


MMCRU High School

STEM Best of 2019 - MMCRU High School

In partnership with local business, MMCRU Community School District will be purchasing commercial grade manufacturing equipment such as CNC machining, advanced millwork processing technologies and welding robotic cells to provide industry grade materials and projects to 9-12 grade students. The goal is to prepare students for local careers with the tools, equipment and technology they will see in the hands of local tradesmen in an effort to prepare them for post-secondary training and open doors for incredible careers right after high school.


GeoPhysics (Geometry + Physics)
West High School, Sioux City

STEM Best of 2018 West High School, Sioux City

Sioux City Community School District will expand the GeoPhysics (Geometry + Physics) STEM curriculum implemented during the 2017-2018 school year to establish authentic partnerships with three new business partners. Community partnerships will integrate real-world questions for students to practice problem-solving utilizing 21st century skills of collaboration, creativity,  communication and critical thinking.

No Boundaries and Iowa Middles
Okoboji CSD, Graettinger-Terril CSD, Ruthven-Ayrshire CSD

Best of 2018 - Okoboji CSD, Graettinger-Terril CSD, Ruthven-Ayrshire CSD

A consortium of schools, including the Okoboji, Graettinger-Terril, and Ruthven-Ayrshire Community School Districts, are embarking on a shared program called the No Boundaries Project. In addition, a middle school pilot of the No Boundaries Project, called Iowa Middles, will start in January with 8th graders at Okoboji Middle School. The vision of this project is to provide real-world and relevant opportunities that don’t exist in the traditional school setting and to expand this model to students across the region.


Spirit Lake Middle School

Best of 2017 - Spirit Lake

The goal at Spirit Lake Middle School is to create a multipurpose educational makerspace that connects school with community. The makerspace concept provides hands-on, creative ways that allow students to innovate while engaging them in deep learning in all academic disciplines. The STEM BEST® Program award will support purchasing furniture and technology for adding a contemporary presentation area designed to provide accessibility, mobility and inspiration within the makerspace. The award will also support renovating the current Maker area. Connecting with local businesses and nonprofits to raise STEM career awareness and job skills are also a priority. The end goal is to establish a public asset Makerspace that will deliver STEM opportunities not only to Spirit Lake students but also to the community.


Spencer High School

Best of 2016 - Spencer

Students travel to workplace sites for training and experiences that align with the community's industry demand in construction, health care, manufacturing and entrepreneurship. Spencer High School is one of four schools piloting a Quality Pre-Apprenticeship. Their program expands on the Construction Extended Career Experiences whereby students are at the job site receiving on-the-job training for an average of 12.5 hours a week. They also achieve their 10-hour OSHA certification in concert with the Quality Pre-Apprenticeship. Established Registered Apprenticeship Program partners include Milford Electric and Midwestern Mechanical.


Rocket Manufacturing
Rock Valley CSD

Best of 2015 - Rock Valley

Rocket Manufacturing is a fully-functioning, student-run manufacturer that works with local businesses by crafting metal-machined parts and tools that businesses or individuals request. Students do the marketing, accounting, design, production and customer communications as well.