Oklahoma Gas and Electric is high lighting its continued efforts to fund projects directly supporting local educators and students in the company’s service area.
In a release this week, the utility emphasized the assistance it is giving to teachers:
As a first-year teacher at Arthur Elementary School last year, Sarahi Garcia-Acosta knew it was important for her classroom to be equipped with resources and materials to make learning exciting for her students. While the school was able to provide some support and Garcia-Acosta paid for some new classroom supplies out of her own pocket, she was determined to give her students the learning environment they deserved, and that meant she would have to get creative with funding her ideas.
Garcia-Acosta posted a special project on DonorsChoose, a classroom crowdfunding platform, requesting counters, or math manipulatives, in fun shapes like dinosaurs, butterflies and trucks that would help her students grasp mathematical concepts in an interactive and hands-on way. As part of its commitment to furthering education efforts across its service area, OG&E helped fund the project, and now all Garcia-Acosta’s students have access to these important educational resources.
“The new counters in my classroom have been such a blessing,” said Garcia-Acosta, who is also a 2021 graduate of the OKCPS Bilingual Teacher Pipeline Program, another educational initiative funded by OG&E that supports bilingual paraprofessionals as they earn their teaching certifications. “These engaging manipulatives help my first graders make concrete connections with mathematical concepts and give them a feeling of ownership in their learning experience. It’s so wonderful to see my kids get excited about math, and I’m grateful to OG&E for providing such an important resource to my classroom!”
The electric company offers grants and matching donations through DonorsChoose, an online nonprofit that funds public school classroom projects. The platform hosts thousands of teacher projects, from requests for basic school supplies to tablets in the classroom, and companies like OG&E can provide teacher grants and matching donations to boost a project’s funding from private citizens. This 2022-2023 school year, OG&E is donating $30,000 to fund projects that directly support local educators and students throughout its service area.
“By powering innovative classroom projects, we are creating a brighter future for public education and positively energizing the communities we serve,” said Lindsay Laird, community outreach and engagement manager at OG&E. “We also want to encourage others to show their support for local educators and students through DonorsChoose.”
Since 2017, OG&E has donated more than $350,000 through DonorsChoose, helping to fund 1,337 projects which supported 1,144 teachers in 687 schools. Last school year alone, the electric company funded Positive Energy Teacher Grants that resulted in nearly 30,000 student experiences at 160 schools in over 30 communities across Oklahoma and western Arkansas.
“Children benefit heavily from authentic learning experiences where their engagement stems from their ability to have a choice, voice and ownership of their learning through play,” said Heather Pogue, a kindergarten teacher at Monroe Elementary School in Norman whose DonorsChoose Monarch butterfly project also received funding from OG&E. “Thanks to OG&E’s generosity, my students were able to become hands-on scientists and actively explore the importance of natural life cycles. I’m so grateful my kids were able to benefit from such an impactful learning experience.”
OG&E Teacher Donations and Matching Funds
OG&E will provide grants and match donations for teacher projects in Oklahoma and Arkansas that promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts and support students from low-income households in its service area.
“I’ve been using DonorsChoose for over 12 years now, and I highly encourage all of my fellow teachers to utilize the platform to request resources for their classrooms,” said Alicia Farley, an AP English teacher at Durant High School and past recipient of an OG&E Teacher Grant through Donors Choose. “It’s such a simple way for those in the community to support local education, and it means so much to all of us teachers!”
OG&E encourages others in the community to support teachers through DonorsChoose and help them complete funding for their impactful classroom requests. Anyone can donate toward a teacher project, and donations are now being accepted on the DonorsChoose platform. To donate to a teacher or to find teacher projects OG&E is matching, visit donorschoose.org.
The local electric company energizes education in the community in many other ways. The OGE Energy Foundation regularly provides substantial financial aid to students pursuing degrees in higher education through its Positive Energy Scholarships and Energy Scholarships. This past August, OG&E hosted pop-up shops across Oklahoma and Arkansas, donating $100,000 worth of classroom supplies to ensure educators would not have to pay for these materials out-of-pocket. The company has committed to giving $50,000 for local teachers to attend the National NEED Conference in July 2023 and $60,000 to fund student electrical safety and energy efficiency programs.
Source: OGE release