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Davenport West to build model classroom with STEM grant

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Davenport continues to find ways to enhance education. That's after the district received a $50,000 STEM grant.

It will bring a new way of learning to Davenport West High School.

Destiny Taylor knows all about teamwork.

"He said he wants it like Brady Stadium," she said.

The junior at Davenport West is helping to design a football field.

"I still think we could do it," she said.

This collaboration is a way to learn science, technology, engineering and math. These are the STEM courses that enhance education and build careers.

"The textbooks and everything, it's nice to do," Taylor said. "But to apply it into real-life situations, it helps me understand it more."

Davenport is one of four Iowa districts to receive the new grant. It will transform the environment of a traditional classroom. When introduced to students in fall 2014, it will be a hub for subjects like earth science and geometry.

"It's not going to look like anything that you've seen in Davenport schools to date," said STEM Specialist Kimberly Gasaway.

The TILE approach will use an open environment to teach, interact, learn and engage.

"Everything we're putting in that classroom has the research to support that it engages students in a different level of learning than they have experienced in the classroom before," Gasaway said.

Senior Grant Leacox thrives in the open format. For him, collaborations spark creativity and learning.

"It's a lot more student-based," he said. "You kind of learn off of each other, work together as a team."

Destiny Taylor is finding the future to be inviting.

"I know I have to apply everything I do in the classroom," she concluded. "To do this hands-on, it would really help me."

At Davenport West, it's a design for success.