Skip to content

New Location Welcomes Iowa BIG Students

Iowa BIG (2)This school year, Iowa BIG will have a brand new facility to offer new experiences and opportunities for its students.

The program – now in its third year at Linn-Mar – has moved to 5313 North Park Place NE, Cedar Rapids and will provide twice the room as the old location with approximately 4,400 square feet of space.

According to Associate Superintendent Nathan Wear, “The new space has a conference room for teams to meet, a makerspace, and more room for students to work and collaborate.” With continued growth and interest in the program we simply ran out of space, he said.

“We have room for 125 students and anticipate a full slate,” Wear said. “Approximately 84 Linn-Mar students will be a part of the program as well as students from Alburnett, Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Washington, and Prairie.

Dr. Trace Pickering, executive director, oversees the program. A shared program, BIG employs teachers from all four participating districts. Linn-Mar’s staff there are Becky Herman and Dee Wesbrook. Charlie Goetzinger and Mark Matson join the program from Cedar Rapids in addition to Matt White from Alburnett.Iowa BIG (1)

“As the social studies instructor, Becky (Herman) helps our students see how the concepts and standards in courses like sociology and psychology play out on teams and in projects involving customers and end-users,” Wear stated. “Dee (Wesbrook) brings years of experience in writing and literature and helps students see how English skills are at play every day no matter what project they’re working on.” She also helps students bring together their school and BIG experiences to tell a unique and powerful personal story,” he said

Iowa BIG is an initiative-based high school experience. In the program, students gain real-world agency and time management skills by solving community problems with nonprofit, business, and government agencies.Iowa BIG (3)

Students in the program choose the community-based projects they want to work on at Iowa BIG from a project pool that is generated from the community.

“BIG utilizes current practices used by many businesses and organizations so students are versed in them and can enhance their resumes,” he said. BIG’s primary focus is on teaching and practicing the mindset and tools of Modern Agile. “Modern Agile seeks to make people awesome, make safety a prerequisite, experiment and learn rapidly, and deliver value continuously,” Wear said.

Learn more about the program by visiting the Iowa BIG website.