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70,131 reasons to smile: Owasso teachers receive over $70K in education grants
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70,131 reasons to smile: Owasso teachers receive over $70K in education grants

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Forty-seven local teachers had 70,131 reasons to smile last week.

That figure translates into the total dollar amount the Owasso Education Foundation distributed to area schools on Thursday as part of the organization’s annual grant patrol (see photo gallery).

“This day is incredible, and it’s incredible because it’s everything that’s good about Owasso Public Schools,” Superintendent Amy Fichtner said in a previous story about the event, which is now in its 31st year.

Ator Elementary received the most funds, with seven teachers awarded over $14,000 in grants; followed by Morrow Elementary, with another seven educators allocated more than $11,000; and then Owasso 8th Grade Center, where five teachers received nearly $8,400.

Nine other schools sites each received just over $4,800 or less to go toward various supplies and equipment to improve their students’ everyday learning experience.

Mary Purvis at Smith Elementary, for example, received over $2,200 in grants to incorporate the curriculum, “Secret Stories: Learning to Read with Secrets,” into her classroom.

“Secret Stories is a way to teach phonics sounds and reading through stories and motions that kids can understand,” Purvis said. “There are different little medleys; there’s songs that go along with it. It gives kids a ‘why’ of why something says a certain thing.”

Melissa Daigle at Stone Canyon, who received nearly $2,800 for her project, “A Room with a View,” added, “We have a need for microscopes and micro-viewers in our school, so I wrote the grant for that … so we would have that accessible for everyone to use for each grade.”

Other teachers like Hodson Elementary’s Rebecca Brantley, was presented with a $130 grant for “Bringing STEM Alive in the Classroom.”

“We decided, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have a hydroponics garden in our classroom and watch it through the year, baby and nurture all these wonderful plants, and then we could transport them to the garden in the spring?’” Brantley said. “So we’re really excited.”

Sarah Wehner at Mills Elementary used her $180 endowment, titled “Let Your Voice be Heard,” for a unique piece of technology that the school hasn’t implemented yet.

“It’s literally like a dodgeball microphone for the classroom,” Wehner said. “So the kids can throw it around and toss, especially in pre-K where they’re learning to use their voice and speak loud and proud, this is just a fun tool for them to utilize in the classroom.”

The grants distributed on Thursday were made possible through funds raised at various OEF fundraisers, including the Patriot Classic Golf Tournament and other private donations.

For more information about the Owasso Education Foundation, visit owassoeducationfoundation.org.

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