North Cedar Elementary Named One of 10 New STEM BEST Partners

North Cedar Elementary Named One of 10 New STEM BEST Partners

The Iowa Governor’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Advisory Council named North Cedar Elementary one of 10 new STEM BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) Partners in Iowa.

STEM BEST Partners go beyond the typical K-12 classroom environments and methods to provide students with more workplace experience while they are still in school. STEM BEST Partners are awarded based on how they carve a clear path for students between STEM education to STEM careers in the state.

The first phase of North Cedar Elementary's plan is to work with Sidecar Coffee to learn about the science of roasting and brewing coffee. The students will take field trips to Sidecar's roasting facility to conduct experiments on degree of roast on various origins of beans, ratio of water when brewing and cost comparisons for various beans. Parents and community members will serve as taste testers to help students come up with North Cedar's own blend of coffee that will eventually be brewed and sold at the building. Along with this learning, students will also grow coffee bushes, both from plant and seed, to study optimal growing environments and how to take coffee from green bean to finished product. The next phase of the plan is to develop a business plan that will open an internet cafe for parents, neighbors and residents from a retirement community. Students will work on a business plan (ordering supplies, developing a logo and signage for the cafe, purchasing a health license, scheduling workers), and learn from the business community on how to market their coffee most effectively. As an added bonus, a local retirement home will bus residents to the school so they can enjoy coffee and read to students who are struggling in school.

The STEM Council’s executive committee voted unanimously to award and support 10 of 14 proposed partnerships that bring to the table a total cost-share commitment of $566,234 and more than 60 business and community partners. Nearly $250,000 in STEM Council investment is made possible through a combination of state and private funds and is divided equally among these 10 awardees to purchase equipment and provide teacher training:

  • Assumption High School, Davenport — Southeast STEM Region
  • Boone High School — North Central STEM Region
  • Fort Madison Community High School — Southeast STEM Region
  • IKM-Manning Community School District — Southwest STEM Region
  • Muscatine Community School District — Southeast STEM Region
  • North Cedar Elementary School, Cedar Falls — Northeast STEM Region
  • Spencer High School — Northwest STEM Region
  • Story County Consortium (Ames, Ballard, Collins-Maxwell, Colo-NESCO, Gilbert, Nevada, and Roland-Story School Districts) — North Central STEM Region
  • Waukee APEX — South Central STEM Region
  • West Delaware County Community School District — Northeast STEM Region

About the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council

Established in July 2011 via Governor’s Executive Order, the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is a public-private partnership of educators, companies and Iowa students and families addressing policies and programs designed to improve Iowa’s educational system focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The STEM Council works to engage and prepare students for a career-ready workforce path, regain the state’s historic leadership position in education and provide a vital competitive economic advantage now, and for the future, to ensure that every Iowa student has access to world-class STEM education opportunities. The 47-member STEM Council is chaired by Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Kemin Industries President and CEO Dr. Chris Nelson. For more information, visit