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Apple Valley High School students in Ruth Larson’s sixth hour chemistry class combine their resources to meet a project challenge earlier in the 2019-20 school year, before distance learning went into effect in March.

One hundred thirty-two students at Apple Valley High School have successfully passed the STEM Innovator Portfolio Assessment and Exam and qualify for University of Iowa college credits.

Of those, 25 were named National STEM Innovator Scholars, meaning they placed among the top 10 percent across the nation.

The students were enrolled in chemistry courses taught by AVHS teachers Ed Murray and Ruth Larson, working in partnership with AVHS STEM business and community partners. The students worked collaboratively using the STEM Innovator model to find authentic, community-driven, real-world problems and create viable solutions for those problems. Along the way, the STEM Innovator students explored multiple careers and gained skills to become future ready.

If they choose, each of these qualifying students may obtain transferable college credit for an introductory STEM innovation and entrepreneurship course through the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, part of the University’s Tippie College of Business.

Over the last few years, Murray and Larson successfully completed STEM Innovator professional development through the University of Iowa, becoming STEM Innovator Certified Instructors. Students of a certified STEM Innovator teacher may submit a portfolio of innovation design work and sit for a rigorous comprehensive exam created to University of Iowa Tippie College of Business standards.

Currently, teachers from all schools in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District STEM pathway (Cedar Park Elementary School, Echo Park Elementary School, Valley Middle School, and Apple Valley High School) are engaged in STEM Innovator professional development to help students become successful problem finders and solution makers.

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