Young Scientists and Ambitious Teachers Improving Health in an Urban Ecosystem
This five year project, called the Urban Ecosystems project for short, is funded by the National Institutes of Health (Science Education Partnership Award). The Urban Ecosystems project is aimed at interrupting the reproduction of educational and health disparities in a low-income, urban context, through participatory inquiry focused on mosquitoes and human health. The work is centered in the ISU 4U Promise school communities, as part of our partnership to enhance college-going for students historically excluded from higher education. In addition, the project aims to provide pre-service teachers with understandings of ambitious and authentic science teaching through a community-based model that engages stakeholders in participatory action research and citizen science.
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Design Dialogues: Planning with African-American and Latino Youth and Parents for Educational and Environmental Development
The purpose of Design Dialogues was to provide opportunities for youth served by schools and organizations in the River Bend and King-Irving neighborhoods to share knowledge about their community spaces and learning places that could help guide the development of several ISU projects, including the ISU 4U Promise, in those contexts. Design Dialogues served youth at Children and Family Urban Movement (CFUM) in Fall 2015 and at Callanan Middle School (CMS) in Fall 2016. Learn more >>
CyMath-Kids is a virtual mathematics program led by Drs. Namrata Vaswani and Christa Jackson from Iowa State University. The goal of CyMath is to inspire, motivate, and encourage students to see the joy, beauty, and wonder in mathematics as well as engage and challenge students in mathematics. Research has shown that students who have an increased interest in STEM in their early years of education are more likely to pursue that interest resulting in a STEM-related career (After-School Alliance Report, 1015). On the other hand, if enough encouragement and challenge is not provided in early grades, it can often lead to a loss of interest throughout the school years. CyMath offers extended help and challenge sessions for students to strengthen and deepen their mathematical understanding. Learn more >>
ISU 4U Promise Book Study
During the 2019-2020 school year, the ISU 4U Promise hosted a book study with six King and Moulton teachers over The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys. The group met monthly to discuss each of the six sections of the book with topics such as: “Exploring the Self” and “Understanding the Constraints and Challenging the Narratives About Who Black Boys Are and Who White Women Can Be.” This fall, there was enthusiasm to continue the conversation with a new book: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Dr. Ibram X Kendi. This time, the group expanded to include interested Elementary Education majors from the School of Education at Iowa State. In all, seven teachers and five El Ed majors participated in this book study that met on Zoom three times during fall semester. Learn more >>
ISU 4U Promise Volunteer Program
The ISU 4U Promise volunteer program recruits, trains, and places ISU students in King and Moulton classrooms. Volunteers help classroom teachers by reading with students, helping them with assignments, and talking about college. The goal of the program is to provide role models for college-going and promote an ISU 4U Promise Scholar identity at a young age.
ISU College Partnerships
In an effort to teach King and Moulton students more about the breadth of careers available to them at ISU, grade levels at each school have been paired with an undergraduate college at ISU. Our goal is to connect resources from each college, such as fun, career exploration activities, with its partnered grade level. The pairings are:
- Kindergarten/College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- First Grade/College of Design
- Second Grade/College of Business
- Third Grade/College of Human Sciences
- Fourth Grade/College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Fifth Grade/College of Engineering
This annual event promotes college-going at Iowa State University for students at King and Moulton, as well as for older sixth through 12th grade ISU 4U Promise-eligible students and their families. ISU student organizations and academic units showcase their work through age-appropriate activities.
12th Grade Outreach
Students in the first ISU 4U Promise twelfth-grade cohort receive support through meetings and monthly social events. In addition, ISU Admissions supports these students through outreach-based assistance.
In 2017 a small curriculum was developed for teachers at King and Moulton to support their efforts to talk about college in the elementary classroom. Lessons in this curriculum explore college basics, and an activity at each grade level explores careers related to a particular ISU college.
King and Moulton Teacher Liaison Teams
Teachers at King and Moulton provide vital input and feedback about the progress of the ISU 4U Promise initiative. Through regular meetings with the ISU 4U Promise Program Coordinator, these teachers take the lead on promoting college-going and the ISU 4U Promise in a variety of ways throughout their schools.
Third Grade Girls Mentoring Program
The ISU 4U Promise twelfth grade women have started a volunteer project within their community. Each week, these twelfth graders go to Moulton after school to work with third graders, who, when they graduate from 5th-grade, will also be eligible for the ISU 4U Promise tuition award. They design and implement fun, age-appropriate activities focused on self-esteem, friendship, and planning for the future.
The Community Alliance provides a structure for Iowa State Extension and Outreach, community organizations, agencies, and businesses to participate in the ISU 4U Promise. Given that the long-term objective of the ISU 4U Promise is to maintain a college-going pathway for youth attending King and Moulton elementary schools, the Community Alliance aims to align with support systems for in- and out-of-school education. We believe the community organizations that service the youth and families of these two schools are in integral aspect of the success of the ISU 4U Promise. Learn more >>
Each semester, pre-service teachers in the School of Education (CHS) have the opportunity to be considered for a practicum placement in classrooms at King or Moulton Elementary. ISU students placed in these schools are given additional supports including an introductory orientation before setting foot in the classroom, a video series based on Diversity Pedagogy, an online Discussion Board where they write reflections and self-reflections (on topics such as Ethnic Identity Development, Implicit Bias, Culturally Inclusive Classrooms, etc.), and feedback sessions with cooperating teachers and the ISU 4U Promise Program Specialist at the end.
Teacher Education Students
Elementary education majors at ISU have the opportunity to do their field experiences at King or Moulton elementary schools. Currently, this opportunity includes additional resources for pre-service teachers to learn about urban education, such as an overview of the communities, neighborhood walks, debriefing conversations and work in community organizations.
ISU’s Research Institute for Studies in Education (RISE) is the evaluator for the ISU 4U Promise. RISE’s goal is to document and describe the impact and implementation context of the ISU 4U Promise.