OGE contributes to schools with low-income students


For the 2023-2024 school year, Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) will donate $30,000 in Positive Teacher Grants to fund teacher projects through DonorsChoose, benefiting schools where most students come from low-income households. 

Engaging activities and hands-on learning increase students’ academic achievement and understanding of concepts taught in the classroom, but additional funding for teaching materials can sometimes be scarce. All too often, teachers pay out of their own pockets for classroom supplies and materials for extra educational projects to enhance the classroom experience for their students.

Nikki Perry, a counselor at Pansy Kidd Middle School in Poteau, Okla., is one of many educators who has benefited from OG&E’s Positive Energy Teacher Grants. Perry’s DonorsChoose project – “Lego the Stress” – requested Lego sets that offer students a creative, productive way to deal with anxiety while in the classroom. OG&E matched donations for this unique project, and now all of Perry’s students have access to these important resources. 

“Finding unique solutions for students dealing with high levels of stress and trauma is one of the most important parts of being a teacher. Since receiving the Lego sets from my project request, it’s had a significantly positive impact on the way my students interact and engage with each other and with their education,” Perry said. “I’m so grateful to OG&E for supporting this project and ensuring my students have what they need to thrive in the classroom.” 

DonorsChoose was created to support local teachers and alleviate their financial burden of purchasing supplies out-of-pocket. Studies show teachers spend an average of $673 of their own money on classroom supplies each school year. 

Patrick Sutton-Cannon, a science teacher at F.D. Moon Middle School (FDMMS) in Oklahoma City, is one of these teachers. More than 75 percent of students at FDMMS are from low-income households. Unable to pay for the supplies on his own but determined to give his students an interactive and hands-on learning experience, Sutton-Cannon submitted a project to DonorsChoose requesting frog specimens for students to learn about and identify anatomy. OG&E matched the donations to his project to help complete his fundraising goal faster. 

“Supporting a local teacher’s DonorsChoose project is so much more than a donation,” Sutton-Cannon said. “It’s an investment into the future of our students and our community. I am so grateful to OG&E for providing these significant and impactful classroom resources and for prioritizing the education of our state’s youngest citizens.” 

OG&E’s Positive Energy Teacher Grants fund projects that come from Equity Focus Schools in Oklahoma City, as well as diverse and low-income rural schools across its service area. Grants will be distributed through DonorsChoose during the 2023-2024 school year. 

“When all students have access to the same resources and advantages that other students have, it evens the playing field and opens doors to opportunities that might have been closed,” said Julie Klingensmith, a math teacher at Norman High School whose DonorsChoose project received matching funds from OG&E. “Funding a DonorsChoose project is an easy and impactful way to promote educational equity, and it’s amazing to see a company like OG&E provide such meaningful and direct support to public schools.”  

Since 2003, OG&E has donated more than $700,000 to support innovative projects. During the 2022-2023 school year alone, OG&E provided matching funds for 203 projects which supported 90 schools and 135 teachers. 

“Teachers play an incredibly important role in shaping the next generation of leaders, lighting the way for student success in the classroom and beyond,” said Lindsay Laird, community outreach and engagement manager at OG&E. “OG&E is committed to energizing education in the communities we serve, and our Positive Energy Teacher Grants are just one way we ensure educators have the support they need to help their students learn and grow.” 

OG&E energizes education in the community in many other ways. The OGE Energy Foundation awards financial aid to students pursuing degrees in higher education through its Positive Energy Scholarships and Energy Scholarships. Additionally, the electric company offers energy education materials to teachers and school leaders, promotes energy workforce development and is a leading supporter of the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation’s Teacher Pipeline Program, an initiative that recruits and retains urban-ready teachers.