Horn Elementary School students can’t help but have their senses ignited when they walk into the classroom of STEM teacher Alex Jones, a recipient of one of the HISD Foundation’s Innovation Grants this school year.
For the 2017-2018 school year, the Foundation was able to award more than $150,000 in Innovation Grants, thanks to the generous donations from local community members and business partnerships.
Jones received $7,000 to purchase tablets, drones, and robots for his classroom.
“We funded projects ranging from STEM and fine arts to outdoor projects and literacy,” Director of Foundation Operations Annie Song said. “The funds allow us to invest in creating innovative classroom opportunities for teachers and students.”
The new program that launched at the beginning of the school year has allowed teachers for grades pre-K through 12 to apply for a $3,000 to $7,000 grant. Two or more teachers from the same school could also apply for a collaborative grant ranging from $5,000 to $10,000.
Schools could also apply for grants of $10,000 to $20,000 to innovate the learning in their classrooms. More than 15 HISD campuses received an Innovation Grant from the Foundation.
The winners of the school grants were announced at this year’s State of Schools in February. Berry Elementary School received a $3,100 grant from the HISD Foundation’s Innovation Fund, McReynolds Middle School received a $7,000 grant, and Sharpstown High School received a $20,000 grant.
Berry will use its grant for supplies and equipment to create a “Makers Space” for its kindergarten students. McReynolds will use the grant for a STEM and literacy program called “Robots and Literature: Rolling in the Genres.” Sharpstown will use the grant to purchase supplies, equipment, and materials for the Sharpstown Storytelling project, a digital storytelling project that will not only help students improve their literacy and communication skills, but allow them to share their stories.