Districts Team To Launch Iowa BIG

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The Iowa BIG Partner Launch celebrated the unique collaboration between school districts and area businesses.

The Cedar Rapids and College Community school districts will collaborate to offer the Iowa BIG Program to students. A Partner Launch event was held May 21 to celebrate the collaboration that also includes area organizations and businesses.

Iowa BIG is an opportunity for high school students to expand their learning outside the traditional classroom for part of the school day. An example of competency-based education, it focuses on the concepts of learner co-designed coursework; a demonstrated ability in both common content standards and 21st century skills; the development of skills necessary to work in diverse situations and relationships; design thinking to better understand how content, problems, and solutions are related; and community connection via resume-building projects and experiences.

Event speakers included Dr. Trace Pickering, Associate Superintendent of the Cedar Rapids Community School District and a founder of the program; Prairie High School student Kinzie Farmer, who participated during this school year; Dr. Dave Benson, Superintendent of the Cedar Rapids Community School District; John Speer, Superintendent of the College Community School District; Dr. Mick Starcevich, President of Kirkwood Community College; Dr. Dave McInally, President of Coe College; and Chuck Peters, CEO of the Cedar Rapids Gazette Company, an Iowa BIG sponsor.

Speaker comments collectively highlighted the innovative program as a unique learning option for students, an opportunity to more fully engage the community in education; and an endorsement of career and college readiness. Prior to the program, participants enjoyed music written and recorded by Jefferson High School student Toyi Gidioni as part of his Iowa BIG project this year.

Program faculty and staff were on hand to meet with parents, teens, and community members.

The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance also hosted a ribbon cutting for the program which will be based in the Geonetric Building in the NewBo City Market area of Cedar Rapids.

More information about Iowa Big is available here.

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