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Knox Education Foundation surprises 21 educators with grants to fund ideas

The grants total $150,000 and will help fund innovative ideas to help students engage better with learning.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Educators in Knox County are facing new challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When educators face new challenges, they come up with new ideas.

The Knox Education Foundation is helping fund innovative ideas with the "TeacherPreneurs" and "PrincipalPreneurs" grant programs. They are surprising 15 teachers and six principals with the grants, officials said. They total $150,000.

One of the recipients is Jimm Allen, the principal of the L&N STEM Academy. He had the idea for a new fabrication and prototyping lab, to help students create prototypes for inventions that may help solve everyday issues.

"We want to give any kid with an idea the opportunity to work on it, and that's not something I've seen in education," Allen said. "We want to be innovative here and we want our kids to be able to continue to explore."

The Knox Education Foundation gave him $20,000 for the project.

Officials with the school said they are calling it the "Student Collaboration and Prototyping Lab" and will help students explore their ideas and discover innovative solutions. They also said it will help students explore career and entrepreneurial opportunities.