The early 2018 announcement of the $2 million STEM grant initiative by the OERB was met by enthusiasm from educators, leading to a flurry of applications headed for the post office. The grant money is already being put to good use in schools across Oklahoma. All districts were eligible for the funds, which are designated for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) classroom materials and equipment.
Each district had the opportunity to briefly explain how they would use the grant toward STEM activities. Eager to put funds in the hands of superintendents, principals and teachers – the OERB has already distributed 511 checks for a total of $1,963,831.92.
“We just heard Chickasha received a big amount for STEM projects. We’ll put it to good use in the science program, so we’re thankful for them doing that.”
-Anna Carrion, Parent
“There’s not a lot of industries willing to give to the schools and education. Having the math and science equipment and curriculum is wonderful.”
– Tisha Dewitt, Educator, Stillwater Public Schools
Schools across the state are using the funds to create a more tactile, memorable learning experience for students. For example, Durant teachers are building a greenhouse and expanding their award-winning environmental program for the next two years. Educators of the Mill Creek District purchased a drone for their agricultural communications class. In Lookeba, they’re using the money to create a new anatomy program. And the Geary School District now has its first-ever STEM program.
That’s just a small peek into how the $2 million grant is benefitting over 500 schools statewide. Supporting teachers and students when they need it most is an ongoing priority of the OERB. Each year, the OERB offers workshops, curricula, field trips and in-class presentations. Over 15,000 teachers have taken advantage of these resources. In fact, supplies for these free teacher workshops are now held in an 8,000 square-foot warehouse and require two trailers to transport them.
Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas producers and royalty owners continue to voluntarily fund these programs, totaling $46 million to date, because they believe it’s a vital investment in Oklahoma’s future.