MiSTEM Regional Division 13

Initiative Collaboration Proposal

Do you have an idea for a partnership or an initiative? You are in the right place. Below is the information we use to determine where efforts and resources are needed. Please take a moment to reflect on the process and information. We love working with our community to bring quality STEM education to our region, educators, and students.


If you would like to partner on an initiative, please review the mission statement of the MiSTEM Network, the pillars, the needs statements, and grant requirements. If your initiative is a good match for the MiSTEM Network please contact Drea Weiner, Regional Director, and be prepared for a conversation regarding your initiative and its connections the work. 


We’re all doing so much for kids and capacity may be limited. Though we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to partner, we are really excited to have a conversation about a potential partnership. 


Needs Statements

The region needs improved recognition of the importance of quality STEM education. In addition to recognition, the region needs to adopt the following as priority means of instruction: 

    • Place, Project, and Problem-based (3P) Learning for cross-disciplinary integration;
    • Computer science as a foundational skill; and
    • Employer engagement for workplace relevance.

Educators need ready access to professional learning so they can provide quality STEM instruction in their classrooms, including:

  • Diverse learning opportunities that match their comfort and engagement levels; 
  • Options that offer maximum flexibility for attendance;
  • Support to make it possible to attend professional learning, such as cost, travel, and sub coverage; and 
  • Resources (curriculum, materials) that support the implementation of the learning they receive.

The most rural areas of the region have fewer STEM resources and opportunities. Schools in these areas need more targeted support to fill the gap in available programming, including funding, facilitated connections to employers and community partners, and greater assistance for low-income students.


The most important skill needs identified by local businesses are those that apply to all occupations, including Communication, Dependability, Adaptability, and Problem-Solving.


The region needs a better system for connecting employers to STEM learning: 

  • Educators need more engagement with employers to learn about their skill needs, offer career exploration, and develop relevant projects for their students; 
  • Businesses need a simple process for connecting with educators in order to support STEM learning in the classroom; and
  • Businesses need more awareness about how they can engage and what is involved at varying levels of engagement.

Grant Requirements and Caveats

When partnering with the Northwestern Lower MiSTEM Network, it is important to remember that there are grant expectations that must be met. They include the following:

  • Any data collected on the initiative must be shared with the MiSTEM Network regional director and staff on a quarterly basis. Data includes and isn’t limited to:
    • School districts involved;
    • Number of students/educators impacted;
    • If the initiative was intentionally seeking to impact with demonstrated need;
    • Additional partners if applicable;
    • Additional funds used.
  • All marketing and public-facing resources must have the following language included:
    • This opportunity and resources are provided by the MiSTEM Network Grant grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education.”;
    • MiSTEM Network logo.
  • The use of funds must be equitable. The working definition of equity is “where everyone has the resources they need to be successful”.
  • GAAP: Generally Accepted Accounting Principles will be used. Please connect with your business office for more information.

MiSTEM Network Partnership Scopes


When hosting an event, the regional director organizes, purchases, markets, and handles the logistics for the event. Partners are welcome to participate by helping planning by providing input, helping recruit, donating, etc. an will be recognized for their involvement. Examples of MiSTEM Network hosting and taking lead in projects would include the following: 

MiSTEM Co-Develop

This is a collaborative experience. MiSTEM works with you to develop and host the project/event. Each organization is recognized for their work. It is reasonable for all partners to recognize each other through the initiative, examples of this would include: 

  • Career Profile Cards project co-owned by Northwest MI Works! and the Northwestern Lower MiSTEM Network region;
  • WiredTC partnered with REMC 2 Central, TCAPS, Northwest Education Services to plan, sponsor, and host the ed tech conference; and
  • MiCareerQuest Northwest planed and sponsored the largest career exploration event run by employers and workforce development in Northwest MI.

MiSTEM Sponsor

When sponsoring an event, the organizing organization handles the event logistics, the marketing, etc. Examples would include the following:

All of the grant requirements listed above must be followed and it would be appreciated to share any articles and press releases, and/or invite the MiSTEM Network Regional Director to the event.


Below is the rubric of considerations that are reviewed when creating initiatives with the MiSTEM Network.

Category Level 4 Level 3 Level 2 Level 1


The initiative is aligned to the vision and mission of the MiSTEM Network, the approach is 3P- and STEM-focused while addressing the 4 pillars, state goals, regional strategies, and needs statements. It lays out the partnership(s) in a clear and concise manner.

The initiative is aligned to the mission and vision, tied to 3P- and STEM-focused, and addresses the 4 pillars and regional strategies.

The initiative is aligned to the mission and vision, STEM-focused, and addresses regional strategies.

Insufficiently aligned to the mission and vision, it does not include 3P- or STEM and does not consider the 4 pillars, state goals, or regional strategies.


The initiative is grounded in quality peer-reviewed research and best practices for 3P and STEM Education.

The initiative shows good practices and may be grounded in qualitative and/or quantitative data sets.

The initiative shows potential for initial success. Minimal data sets are considered.

Insufficient information about the quality of the STEM initiative.


Personnel, initiative activities timeline, and budget expenditures congruent with initiative description and outcomes.

Deficiencies or overestimations exist in personnel, timeline, or budget within a tolerable range, outcomes appear achievable despite gaps or leaps.

The initiative’s assembled personnel, timeline, or budget exposes weaknesses in plan design. Outcomes are unlikely to be achieved within the initiative’s current form.

Insufficient information about personnel, initiative activities timeline, or budget expenditures to gauge feasibility.


The initiative considers the barriers to students who suffer from inequities stemming from systems of oppression and address the systemic causes.

The initiative considers barriers to the students and begins to address the systemic causes limiting students from being able to participate.

The initiative considers barriers to students and superficially addresses them on an individual basis.

Insufficient in addressing the barriers limiting student access to quality STEM education.

Demonstrates Need

Clearly articulates the need and requested support of NWL MiSTEM. The data includes a root cause analysis. This may include demographic, test scores, ALICE, and workforce data.

Clearly articulates the need and uses two or more data sources that are grounded in a root cause analysis.

Minimal data was used to demonstrate the need. There does appear to be a root cause addressed through the data.

Insufficient demonstration of need.

Initiative Proposal Examples

As this is a grant funded program, it can be a bit challenging to understand all of the logistics. To assist with the process, we have provided a template for initiative proposals. We have also provided a few examples. We believe in the iterative process and with that belief we understand that the proposal may shift and change. The hope is that these resources give you tools to have an intentional conversation about the initiative. 


If you’re ready for a conversation, please feel free to call Drea Weiner at (231) 922-6560. It would be appreciated to have either a phone, virtual video call, or an in-person meeting.

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