The Innovative Technology Education Fund (ITEF) has announced the five area schools chosen to receive 2016 innovator grants ranging from $20,000 – $68,000 to transform learning for their students, as well as two schools receiving funds for teachers’ professional development. (Watch what recent local grantee schools have created with their funding here.)

The winning schools and projects, announced during ITEF’s recent ‘Art of the Possible’ event for area educators, are:

  • Bryan Hill Elementary (St. Louis Public School): ‘Junior Journalism’ project will encourage student voice through a weekly news segment, blogging, photography and creation of a mini-documentary on the Cottage Hill neighborhood. $68,000
  • Sunrise R-IX School District (Desoto, MO): Applying STEM concepts to farming through a new STEM-RISE agricultural lab program for K-8th grade students. $60,000
  • Central Visual and Performing Arts High School (St. Louis Public School): Creation of a digital portfolio project and on-site recording studio to help students inform, investigate and inspire. $60,000
  • Metro East Montessori (PreK-6th grade, Granite City, IL): Development of a ‘FarMaker Space’, a farm experience designed to teach problem solving in an agriculturecentered environment. $41,000
  • Northview Elementary School (Jennings School District): Implementation of ‘STEAM Over the Digital Divide’, a technology-based music education program that uses apps to augment traditional musical instruments and increase exposure to composition. $20,000

Two other schools, Forder Elementary (Mehlville School District) and Nipher Middle School (Kirkwood School District), received $5,000 and $6,000 respectively to support attendance at professional development conferences for their teachers.

“We are amazed by the creative ideas teachers across the region proposed this year,” said Charmaine Smith, Executive Director of ITEF. “ITEF is extremely pleased to provide an average of nearly $50,000 to each of these five schools, as well as funding professional development opportunities that allow teachers to grow in their field. We cannot wait to see the learning students will achieve through these new projects and spaces.”

At the ‘Art of the Possible’ event, ITEF announced a new 2016 funding opportunity, “Lean into Learning: A professional development initiative for educators.” ITEF will accept applications for 28 professional development grants, each capped at $5,000.00.

Since 2008, ITEF has provided in excess of $2 million in grants to area schools, funding programs including transforming libraries into makerspaces, introducing robotics and animation to elementary art students, and converting an RV into a mobile innovation center that serves an entire district.

ITEF’s unique model allows the use of existing technology to provide access to innovative 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.

Board members of St. Louis-based ITEF select grantees from applicants who meet requirements, including being a charter or accredited K-12 public, private or parochial school in the greater St. Louis region.