St. Louis, Mo. — The Innovative Technology Education Fund (ITEF) has announced six area schools will receive grants ranging from $33,000 – $77,000 to transform learning for their students during the 2015-2016 school year. The winning schools, announced during a recent innovative learning event at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium sponsored by ITEF, are:
- Buder Elementary, Ritenour School District, St. Louis County
- Crossroads College Preparatory School, St. Louis City
- Immanuel Lutheran School, St. Charles County
- Notre Dame High School, St. Louis County
- Rockwood School District, St. Louis County
- The Soulard School, St. Louis City
Since 2006, ITEF has provided in excess of 1.5 million dollars in grants to area schools, allowing them to transform libraries into “makerspaces”, introduce robotics and animation to elementary art students, and put computers with advanced software in the hands of middle-school students.
New this year is a partnership with The Boeing Company to create an Innovator’s Guild to assist grantees in making the most of their funding. The Innovator’s Guild is a group of volunteer science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals from The Boeing Company who support, guide, inspire and inform innovators regarding the implementation and sustainability of their projects.
“We are thrilled to provide these innovative schools with funding to help them connect students with technology in a meaningful way,” said Charmaine Smith, ITEF’s Executive Director. “Having professionals from The Boeing Company offer their expertise will be a wonderful advantage for these schools and their students, bringing real-world experience and engagement with local professionals in STEM fields.”
ITEF’s unique model allows the use of existing technology to provide access to innovative education tools for students. The nonprofit organization leases a broadband signal it owns, and turns those funds into grants that benefit area schools. The organization also uses the signal to help some schools obtain high-speed Internet access for their students at no cost. The Soulard School and Witzel Alternative Academy in the Mehlville School District have been announced as the partners to receive this access for the 2015-2016 school year.
Below please find information on the specific projects funding by the 2015 grants:
Buder Elementary, Ritenour School District, St. Louis County
Project: iLearn: Advancing Education with STEAM
Buder Elementary has developed a film production and digital storytelling program which bridges the learning gap to the digital media and video production programs offered in the Ritenour High Schools. Outcomes: Increase student learning and engagement through multimedia projects.
Crossroads College Preparatory School, St. Louis City
Project: Innovative & Ethical Solutions through Creative Work in the Makerspace
Using design thinking, students in grades 7 – 9 will employ empathy, a tenant of the Crossroads mission, to guide their work and exploration in a makerspace.
Outcomes: To whet the appetites of students for continued exploration in the STEM fields.
Immanuel Lutheran, St. Charles County
Project: Immanuel Lutheran School (ILS) Robotics Program
To increase the number of young students exposed to STEM, Immanuel Lutheran has created a robotics program for all students in grades 3 – 8 that include opportunities to solve engineering challenges and program robotics as a regular part the science curriculum. The program also extends intensive robotics learning opportunities for teachers. Outcomes: Students will participate in robotics projects and develop knowledge and skills related to STEM content.
Notre Dame High School, St. Louis County
Project: Innovative Ways to Encourage STEAM Careers- 3D Printing
Notre Dame High School is rolling out a cross-discipline collaboration between Math, Visual Arts and Marketing departments. Students will start with advanced mathematical functions and develop them into 3D forms using computer-assisted design. The Visual Arts and Marketing Departments will take the forms and use them to teach design, functionality and market research. Outcomes: Students will develop logical thinking and problem solving strategies.
Rockwood School District, St. Louis County
Project: The Mobile Innovation Center
Rockwood School District is launching the Mobile Innovation Center, a converted RV, to bring purposefully designed challenges, which use 3D printers, modeling and design software, robotics and makerspace equipment, to schools within the Rockwood School District. Outcomes: To increase early exposure and access to STEM education.
The Soulard School, St. Louis City
Project: The Total Wellness Project
The Soulard School is bringing the Total Wellness Project to its students. The project addresses the need for holistic learning with an integrated curriculum, connecting health and wellness to larger curriculum goals. Students will use individual polar active monitors to track personal fitness, nutrition and sleep patterns. Outcomes: Students will increase activity time and technological literacy.