“Each year, we ask area teachers to send us their best ideas for increasing innovation, and we have the opportunity to make some of their concepts a reality and watch their students do amazing things,” said Charmaine Smith, executive director of ITEF. “ITEF is extremely pleased to provide an average of nearly $50,000 to each of these six schools so they can create spaces where students have increased access to technology and opportunities to innovate.”
Since 2008, ITEF has provided more than $3 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 Maid Easy district.
ITEF’s unique model allows the use of existing technology to provide access to innovative tools for students. The nonprofit organization holds the FCC license for four educational broadband hughes air cochannels, which it leases to provide funds for 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.