TEF Success Stories

The money for Technology Education Foundation (TEF) grants comes from the sponsors and participants in the Berbee Derby. 100% of the proceeds from the race benefit TEF Annual Grant recipients. Here are just a few of our latest success stories we wanted to share.



Over the 2015-2016 school year, DANEnet partnered with three community centers to offer Maker Clubs. Maker Clubs combine art, technology, engineering and do-it-yourself culture. Youth work alone or in small groups with adults to create, innovate, design and build cool stuff. Over the course of the program, youth soldered, coded, designed, failed and succeeded at making. Along the way youth built technology skills, engineering design skills, creativity and a little resiliance.

Maker Clubs met between 6 – 10 times for about 90 minutes per club. All of the middle school youth in the clubs were attending free summer programs at community centers.

When asked about the impact of the program, Monique Bryson, the youth program director at Elver Park wrote, “Overall, Maker’s club has challenged our students to think critically and work in a group to complete a goal. This is a daunting task to do with middle schoolers, especially after a busy day in school Maker’s provided a break in our week to do programming that is structured and interactive, which is needed for some of children. Out of all of our clubs, Maker’s is the most highly attended. Thanks for being a part of our summer programming.”

John Hunter, the Program Coordinator at the Middleton Youth Center had this to say about Maker Club, “The Makers Club offered by DANEnet was a great program for the Middleton Youth Center this spring. We have done science and technology activities at the youth center in the past, but lack of planning time and resources had limited the opportunities we were able to provide our students. With the Makers Club we were able to offer great new STEM activities every Tuesday. I was happy to see that students who tried out the club early came back every week and were excited to learn new things. The staff and volunteers from DANEnet were not only savvy with the technology but also great at working with the kids and adapting to kids who worked at different paces. Our students learned a lot and got to try new things that we would not have been able to provide without DANEnet. We would love to run another Makers Club in the fall.”

Support from the Technology Education Foundation was critical to providing these rich technology learning experience to middle school youth. Making is an engaging way to teach youth technology and STEM learning dispositions. Thank you so much for supporting this project.




TEF funding supports the YWCA, and the YWeb Career Academy (YWebCA). YWebCA targets young women and young people of color who are underrepresented in technology careers. The goal of YWebCA is to prepare students for – and increase the opportunities to obtain – family-sustaining jobs, while meeting a gap in the labor market for these positions. YWebCA provides instruction in website development skills and also covers job readiness, team building, and hands-on learning in computer programming through an intensive training institute.

TEF funding goes directly to support YWebCA participants – and enables important programming to take place including instruction in website development skills, and hands-on learning in computer programming through an intensive training institute. Participants are also actively involved in learning the skills needed to be “job ready”, and team building activities are included as well.

The way that YWebCA works is unique. The program includes 400 hours of intensive technical training. Students are expected to complete job-related projects and work outside of class time and to be actively engaged in the learning process. Importantly, “soft” skills are also a part of the program, and are equally important for program participants to learn to increase their chance of success in the long term.

Elizabeth Bell, a graduate from the career academy, provided her insight on her experience both within the program and in her current position. Bell’s life had been filled with many hardships and she had to take on two jobs to provide for her family. In the 8-month course in which Bell took part, the students learned web development tools, software development, and soft skills for their future careers. They learned front-end web development skills including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Git, UX design, and project management. In addition, the class covered job readiness, team building, and hands‐on learning in computer programming.

Bell saw the career academy as an opening to new and brighter possibilities. Her long-held interest in computers pushed her to take a course with the YWCA and through that experience, she was recommended to join the career academy. Bell now works with Flexion, a Madison-based enterprise that provides information technology advice, staff, and digital solutions to clients across the United States.

“The YWebCA program opens so many doors – every single day – for people who have to deal with many unfortunate circumstances,” explained Bell.



madison children’s museum, DOWNTOWN MADISON

Madison Children’s Museum (MCM) is a proud recipient of support from the Technology Education Foundation (TEF). The gifts from TEF help to ensure that the museum is an engaging alternative learning space for STEAM (Science & Technology, interpreted through Engineering & the Arts, all based in Mathematical elements technologies) and that all children in the Greater Madison area benefit from science education. 

TEF funding enables MCM to obtain equipment for the Museum’s STEAM summer camps. Because technology is constantly advancing, the TEF gifts enable the museum to provide the most up-to-date equipment available to the campers and visitors to the museum.

And what does the MCM summer camp look like? It is one of the most exciting summer educational (and fun!) options for kids in the community! Programming consists of: the 3D World Party Camp; Art and Science Fusion Camp; and the ever-popular Lego Lab Camp. These camps are very, very popular in the Madison area and attract kids from all over.

We’ve heard from MCM that the staff is also looking forward to other great purchases made with the TEF gift: new Google Cardboard Kits, laptops, printing pens, and monitors – these are all items that will not only support the summer camps, but they will also be used in on-going drop-in programming.

The legacy of support provided by TEF has served as the backbone to STEAM education offered at MCM. With the support from TEF, MCM is able to expand the reach of its programming, add new technologies to feature in its unique and forward-thinking curriculum, and maintain current programming with updated equipment and necessary upgrades.




Falk Elementary School was the recipient of a TEF grant – and it went straight to work to improve the quality of learning for the school’s students. The grant importantly made a direct impact by reducing the digital divide that contributes to the achievement gap found in the Madison School District.

Before the school received the grant, Falk students had limited access to technology. There was only one Google Chromebook for each approx. 8 students. As a result, teachers could only provide a limited amount of time for students to work on computers during the school day, and this made it very difficult for students to “meet their weekly minutes” quota for the district-provided Lexia program (a program designed to build foundational literacy skills).  

This all changed with the TEF grant. This gift allowed Falk to not only purchase additional Chromebooks (the ratio improved to one Chromebook for each approx. 5 students), but to also add to the curricular resources available for teachers and students. Falk students now have greater access to online learning, and classrooms use technology in purposeful ways to supplement and enhance core instruction. 

Falk test results have been very encouraging, and show that the TEF grant has contributed to the rising standardized scores of Falk students. Since obtaining the grant, the percentage of students scoring at a proficient/advanced level on MAP reading has gone up by nearly 7% (African American students scoring at a proficient/advanced level has increased by 8%). The percent of students who met their Fall-Spring growth target on MAP Reading has increased to 58%. 

Student behavior has also improved; the frequency and severity of negative student behaviors is down from previous years, with Falk having the 5th lowest suspension rate of all district schools. 

Other great results: student attendance is up by approx. 2% for each quarter in the most recent school year. School leadership has explained that engagement opportunities provided by increased instructional technology have been a factor in the growth as a school. Another notable result of the TEF grant is quite remarkable and perhaps a bit unexpected – Falk’s staff and parents feel the climate of the school has improved, as shown by the results of the parent climate survey. The school’s climate showed the greatest improvement of all the schools in the District.

Making A Difference, Locally.

Powered by the Berbee Derby

Did you know that 100% of proceeds from the Berbee Derby go to the Madison-based Technology Education Fund (TEF)? The annual Thanksgiving Day event has become a family tradition for many. Fun event for all ages and levels.

The Berbee Derby celebrated their 20 year anniversary this Thanksgiving — which was its final year of the annual event.