Waukee CAPS Celebration Event is a Huge Success!


Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds was presented with a gift from Waukee CAPS students for her support of the program after speaking at the celebration event October 21. Pictured Front Row: Sarah Schroeder, Christian Geib, Max Urban, Christine Glenn, Katarina Hockey, Ross Vogel. Second Row: Sydney Ehlinger, Claire Dudek, Jakob Allison, Justin Sell, Cameron Johnson. Back row: Alex Shephard, Taylor LaRosee, Alexia Stock, Lt.. Governor Kim Reynolds, Tyler Rincon, Erik Nelson, Nate Jacobsen. Photo by Vivian Le

Waukee Community School District celebrated the successful launch of the Waukee Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) on October 21. The event was heavily attended with more than 475 people sharing in the celebration.

The first of its kind in Iowa, Waukee CAPS joins only a handful of other programs like it in the nation. The celebration marked a milestone in the growth and innovation of the district and featured keynote speakers Kim Reynolds, Iowa Lt. Governor and Jim Masterson, CEO of LightEdge Solutions.

“The Waukee Community School District had the vision to understand how a CAPS program can drive innovation and entrepreneurialism in Iowa. Their students will be able to use their problem-solving and team-working skills to master complex content. They will be able to explore careers and build a network of professional contacts with business partners in the community,” Reynolds said.

The first Waukee CAPS courses began this fall with roughly 120 students enrolled. Students enrolled in the program spend part of the school day onsite at satellite locations hosted by local businesses. Waukee CAPS currently offers four main strands: Financial and Insurance; Business, Technology and Communications; Engineering; and Human Services. There are plans to launch a fifth strand, Bioscience & Value Added Agriculture, for the 2015-16 school year.

“The hands-on approach gives me real-life experience in healthcare, which is my passion. I’m gaining professional skills, connecting with professionals and working alongside my peers. One of the things I like best is that I’m giving back and contributing to the world right now while planning for my future,” said Emilie Hulse, Waukee CAPS student enrolled in the Exploration of Health Sciences and Medicine course.

Following the formal presentation, attendees were directed to the high school commons where Waukee CAPS students eagerly stood at one of four food stations ready to share their achievements and answer questions about their Waukee CAPS experiences thus far.

Each station served a variety of hors d’oeuvres specially designed by the students to creatively connect with their strand. Those who visited the Financial and Insurance station were given a risk analysis based off of their food choices and were told if they were insurable or not.

“We wanted to come up with a creative way to reflect the personnel and processes of the insurance industry,” Cameron Johnson, Waukee CAPS student enrolled in the Foundations of Insurance and Actuarial Science course, said. “We believed that the chicken wings and variations of spicy sauce options represented the risks every person encounters on a daily basis.”

This is just the beginning for Waukee CAPS programming. Waukee Community School District plans to increase the number of students enrolled in these courses to 240 for next year.

“Courses will expand and evolve over time as economic trends change,” Chris Bergman, executive director of Waukee CAPS said.

Consideration is underway for the following courses:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Big Data
  • Bioinformatics
  • Foundations of Banking and Investment
  • Foundations of Bioeconomy
  • Global Agriculture and Life Science Systems
  • Global Food Industries
  • Global Health
  • Programming Solutions for Business

“I just want students to extend their reach without fear. Every experience makes a difference so get started as soon as possible. There is so much opportunity out there for people with the professional skills CAPS teaches,” Masterson said.

For more information visit www.waukeecaps.org

560 Southeast University Avenue
Waukee, Iowa 50263
Phone 515.987.5161
Fax 515.987.2701