Iowa BIG opens new location in Alburnett focused on rural businesses, trades

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 8:23 PM CDT
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ALBURNETT, Iowa (KCRG) - Students in the Alburnett and North Linn Districts will have an expanded opportunity to learn through hands-on experience.

That’s thanks to Iowa BIG’s new satellite location opening its doors in Alburnett this week. For students there, it will be their first year.

“I’m a hands-on learner. I hate how the classrooms are set up,” Briggs Martin, an Alburnett student, said.

“I like this way better because you can go communicate with the community,” Caleb Smith, another student at Alburnett, said.

They’ll be part of 11 students from Alburnett and North Linn who will complete projects in the real world for a grade.

“The premise of Iowa BIG is the community becomes a classroom. Instead of learning a lot of the content in the classroom, we really believe that working with our community projects they can hit the same learning standards in the classroom,” Matt White, a social studies teacher at Iowa BIG, said.

White said the change came about after Linn-Mar left the program.

“Alburnett had the chance to work with Iowa BIG the last two years in Cedar Rapids, and at that time it was Linn-Mar and Cedar Rapids Kennedy primarily and then Alburnett that worked together. Then, Linn-Mar decided after last year they wanted to begin their own program internally,” White said.

White added that cost concerns may have played a role. The satellite location is on the Alburnett school property. The focus here will be on smaller communities and more partnerships with rural businesses and trades.

“We’re really trying to tap into the more rural communities of northern Linn County, so trades is part of it, but we also have interior design. We have environmental focus,” White said.

Dani Trimble, Alburnett’s superintendent, sees this as a way to get students more involved in the community.

“We’re all about preparing the students for the future, and the future is so diverse. The opportunities that we probably don’t even understand are going to be available to them,” Trimble said.

The new location launches Wednesday, with hopes to expand to even more students. However, right now for these students, they just looking forward to expanding their minds in a hands-on way.

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