Public Service Company of Oklahoma announced a $1.25 million grant from the American Electric Power Foundation that will provide funding to the Gathering Place for world-class learning opportunities to an estimated 75,000 students throughout the region over the next five years.
The commitment from AEP Foundation will provide resources for transportation assistance, curriculum development and professional development for educators for field trip programs at Gathering Place as well as educational events for the community. The transportation assistance for 400 planned field trips will be primarily intended for students in low-income communities and from Title I schools.
“At PSO, we recognize the value of experiential learning in improving literacy and STEM-related skills,” said, Peggy Simmons, chief operating officer & president, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, a unit of American Electric Power. “The Gathering Place is a tremendous asset to our community and we’re excited to collaborate with them to provide engaging and educational field trips and curriculum to area students. Each school year, over 15,000 students will participate in the field trips funded through this grant. It’s an honor for us to invest in our community’s future leaders.”
The field trip curriculum will be developed in alignment with learning objectives from the Oklahoma Academic Standards, creating educational experiences that are unique to Gathering Place and additive to student development in the classroom. Through the field trip programming, students will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of experiences including grade level specific curriculum, STEAM programming, creative play, world-class performances and reading activities.
“We are proud to work together with PSO as a strong community partner to help further our mission to engage, educate and excite, and to become a true educational resource for the entire community,” said Tony Moore, executive director, Gathering Place. “The grant will allow Gathering Place to remove some of the financial barriers for schools in our area allowing for all teachers and students to benefit from what Gathering Place has to offer through educational programming in a hands-on environment,”
The grant will enable access for thousands of students to experience these world-class learning opportunities each year. Field trips will be available beginning spring 2020.