The Tomball Education Foundation has provided more than $51,000 in its first year to further innovative teaching ideas in Tomball ISD, from cultivating a classroom garden to implementing 3D printing technology, said Amanda Bass, TEF vice president of marketing and events.
A group of Tomball community members formed TEF in 2017 and distributed its first round of 18 grants to educators at 10 TISD campuses in December.
“[We] just saw a need for more funding to be brought into our school district for innovative teaching ideas,” Bass said.
The foundation’s purpose is to fund out-of-the-box teaching ideas—ideas not normally supported by the district’s budget, said Tamieka Tavares, TEF vice president of communications.
“This was an opportunity I think to be able to empower the teachers to be able to do things they aren’t currently able to do with the funds that they’re given and also for the people in the community to get involved,” Tavares said. “We’re really building up a legacy of a higher education.”
Teachers can apply at various times during the school year to receive up to $5,000 per grant, founding member Bob Fontenot said. The foundation reviews anonymous applications and selects the top grants, funded by community donations.
“The more money we raise, the greater percentage of money we can give away,” he said.
The foundation has received about 60 applications each grant cycle. A second round of grants were distributed May 24, Tavares said.
“There are a lot of educators who have the desire and the heart to do great things, but it takes funds,” she said. “We’re able to give them what they need to be able to do that and bring those ideas into fruition.”
While individual teachers or grade levels receive the funds, TEF grants have a much broader reach, Bass said.
“It’s not just impacting that one teacher that received the grant. She then brings the technology to that campus and shares it with other elementary schools in the district,” Bass said. “It’s spreading all the way throughout our district. That’s exciting.”
Tomball Education Foundation
Contact Amanda Bass to get involved with the foundation.