MISF Awards STEM Grant valued at $7500 to New Life Academy at the 2018 Minnesota Private & Independent Education Awards Event.

MISF Awards STEM Grant valued at $7500 to New Life Academy at the 2018 Minnesota Private & Independent Education Awards Event.

Thirty-five STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Grand Awards were presented to elementary and high schools throughout the state through MISF’s STEAM Program at the 2018 Minnesota Private and Independent Education Awards on April 29th at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. The awards program recognizes a number of outstanding K-8 and 9-12 teachers and leaders of the year, academic programs, staff and volunteers contributing to the success of private and independent schools in Minnesota. The STEM grant funding will assist schools in developing hands-on curriculum to prepare students to be the workforce leaders in STEM careers. Supporters of the MISF STEM Program are the 3M Foundation, Schott Foundation, and Excel Energy Foundation.

New Life Academy was awarded a $7500 grant (the maximum amount) for its 15% Innovation Portfolio (15% IP) Program in grades 6-12. Faculty members Shay Motalebi (STEAM Coordinator), Dr. Craig Butler (Science Department Head), Deirdre Tschanz (Middle and Upper School Science Teacher) and Brandon Mellett (Business and Technology Teacher) will be further developing the curriculum with the support of the MISF Grant.

The 15% IP program builds a solid foundation in STEM/STEAM integration through long-term, student-driven 15% Innovation Portfolio projects. Students are inspired and encouraged by faculty to connect their academic learning to the real-world applications and think critically in identifying personal or global needs and designing testable solutions. Three New Life Academy students participated and won Blue Ribbon awards for their 15% IP projects at the Twin Cities 2018 Regional Science and Engineering Competition and two students won State Finalist Medals at the 2018 State Science and Engineering Competition.

15% IP projects are evaluated based on independent initiative, implementation, quality and effort, collaboration, communication and presentation skills. This is an important part of preparing K-12 students because a 2016 Workforce-Skills Preparedness Report by Payscale indicates that hiring managers say that critical skills are missing in today’s recent college graduate hires: curiosity, grit, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communication. The 15% IP program aims to bring these softer skills into the curriculum by encouraging students to discover, explore, create, innovate, problem-solve and think critically. By bringing this experience into the K-12 experience, New Life Academy graduates will have experience in critical thinking and problem solving equipping them for their post-secondary pursuits.


About New Life Academy

New Life Academy is a private Christian PK-12 school in Woodbury, MN serving over 750 students from the East Twin Cities and Hudson, WI.  Our students are challenged by a rigorous academic program and prepared with an Integrated STEAM. New Life Academy focuses on a well-rounded education for the whole child – emphasizing academics, character development, leadership development, faith formation as well as developing passions in athletics and the arts so students can discover their passions and pursue their interests.


About the Minnesota Independent School Forum

The Minnesota Independent School Forum (MISF) exists to strengthen K-12 independent schools through advocacy and advancement. MISF has been the voice for private and independent education since 1976. MISF focuses on supporting all nonpublic K-12 schools by representing these schools at the state and federal level and disseminating and sharing information that directly affects school operations. MISF offers a variety of programs, services, education, research and public policy support. Find out more at www.misf.org.