Local Teachers Receive Classroom Funding 
Nine teachers from the Perry Public School district were recently awarded grants for their classroom projects from DonorsChoose and the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE).
OSDE partnered with national nonprofit, DonorsChoose to provide funding to public school teachers as part of their Oklahoma Classroom Learning and School Supplies (CLASS) grant initiative. In January 2022, the OSDE dedicated $6 million in federal relief funds to help classroom teachers obtain resources for their students. 
The DonorsChoose organization is a website where teachers can submit their classroom project descriptions and request items and supplies needed for their classroom. Submissions include an essay with clear goals linking their requested resources to student learning in the wake of COVID-19. Materials requested must be for student use; not for professional development use.
All Oklahoma full-time Pre-K through 12th grade teachers, including school counselors, reading specialists, media specialists, speech pathologists, physical therapists, and occupational/speech therapists, and other certified faculty whose role is focused on direct, in-person services (not virtual) to students are eligible to apply.
DonorsChoose allows any individual to make an online donation toward teacher classrooms and has been helping teachers with funding resources since 2000. 
In the spring distribution of CLASS grants, Perry had four teachers receive OSDE funding, including: Tracey Edwards, Amy Hoffman, Shelynn Kelly, and Jessica White. 
Most recently, OSDE announced the CLASS 2.0 initiative, a second round of funding and continued partnership with DonorsChoose. OSDE dedicated another $6 million for fall grant submissions by Oklahoma teachers. 
On November 1, 2022, Oklahoma teachers were able to submit new projects to be considered by OSDE. The OSDE began selecting and funding eligible requests on the DonorsChoose website up to $1,000 on a first-come, first-served basis, until the proportional amount of funds for each area code was expended. By November 3, all funding from OSDE allocated to school districts in the 580 area code had been fully distributed. 
Many Perry Public Schools teachers were fortunate to have their DonorsChoose requests fulfilled by the OSDE last week. A description of each teacher’s fully funded project follows. 
Crystal Deken
Teaches: 3rd grade Math and Science
Project: “Hands-on Math” - Mrs. Deken plans to purchase hands-on activities, organizational materials, center materials, and black lights to add to our end of the year review glow day. She also requested power pens for self-checking work during centers and a utility cart so students can access them easily. Additionally, she plans to incorporate manipulative materials during class to deepen students' understanding.
Quote: "My goal is for my students to have the opportunity to participate in more hands-on activities that they can find easily in our classroom. My students are hard working individuals who are eager to learn! I love my school and students and would love for them to have opportunities to thrive even more in the classroom and grow as learners."
Total amount awarded: $978
Tracey Edwards
Teaches: 6th grade Math and Social Studies
Project: "Social Studies Enrichment" - Mrs. Edwards will use the funds to purchase new art project supplies to supplement social studies lessons, including paint brushes, clay, disposable tablecloths and plates to be used for painting and modeling projects. She also requested Scholastic News readers to incorporate current events into lessons and white boards to help students work together on math. She also plans to add organizational items to her classroom to assist students in their daily tasks.
Quote: "I really love to incorporate art in my Social Studies class, but it becomes very expensive buying things for each chapter. These items will help me make our lessons much more memorable."
Total amount awarded: $733
Samantha Keith
Teaches: 6th grade Science
Project: “Science in Color”- The DonorsChoose grant will be used to purchase markers, printer paper, and an Epson Ecotank printer. Students will have better access to get their science fair experiment photos printed for their display boards. Being able to print their own photos and create an eye-catching presentation will greatly enhance students' engagement and pride in their project.
Quote: "The students at Perry Elementary are fun, caring, and eager to learn! They enjoy being a part of our tight knit community and making long lasting relationships with their teachers. In order to keep kids engaged, I would like to provide access to producing a colorful science fair display board as well as colorful enrichment activities and labs."
Total amount awarded: $545
Shelynn Kelly
Teaches: Foundational Learning Program 7th-12th grade
Project:  “Science Labs” - Mrs. Kelly plans to purchase science lab investigation kits, including seven different science kits (simple machines, landforms, erosion, plants, habitats, etc.), as well as a take-apart human body model to study the major organ systems. 
Quote: “Students in my program work on real world math, reading, life and social skills. The pandemic made hands-on learning very challenging. Now that we are back in full swing, I would like to make up for lost experiences by providing all the hands-on activities that I can to enhance learning."
Total amount awarded: $872
Stacy Ruth
Teaches: Foundational Learning Program K-6th grade
Project: “Hands-on Science” - The students she supports in her classroom are elementary students with severe disabilities and require lots of hands-on experiences in order to help them make progress in the curriculum. The items Mrs. Ruth requested are hands-on activities for various science topics including plants, insects, animals, and weather.
Quote: "As a result of COVID-19 and the often necessary quarantine time that went along with it, my students had fewer opportunities to participate in hands-on science activities. I believe these types of activities will make a difference in my classroom."
Total amount awarded: $808
Dana Scherman
Teaches: 8th grade Pre-algebra and Algebra I
Project: "Better Than Basic Mathematicians!” - Mrs. Scherman would like new math supplies for 7th and 8th grade students to help improve their math skills. She plans to use the funds to purchase a variety of measuring instruments for her classroom, such as, yard sticks, measuring tapes, educational kits, and games.
Quote: "Students fear the struggle of learning new skills because they don’t want to be wrong. I want to provide them with a more hands-on approach to their learning, which includes collaborating with one another and associating math skills with real life situations. They have bright futures ahead of them and just need a little push in the right direction to be shown that I’m not the only one who wants the best for them."
Total amount awarded: $986
Amanda Tetik
Teaches: Reading Interventionist K-6th grade
Project: “Comforting, Calming, and Conducive to Learning!”- Many of Mrs. Tetik’s students are facing economic challenges and often reluctant to participate due to their academic struggles. She’d like to use the funding to purchase alternative seating, such as bean bags, cushions, and a soft rug, as well as LED lighting to create an environment where students feel safe, calm, and comfortable. An informal seating arrangement will allow for flexibility to meet student needs. She also plans to purchase books to complete existing sets. 
Quote: "As a reading specialist, it’s my mission to identify and fill the gaps in each student's education. My goal is to provide them with a space where they feel comfortable, a space where they feel safe, and a space where they can become lovers of reading.”
Total amount awarded: $936
Mandy Vollmer
Teaches: Reading Interventionist K-6th grade
Project: “Let’s Read” - Mrs. Vollmer will use the DonorsChoose grant to purchase books to complete the sets already at the school to enhance their selection for small group reading time. In addition, she requested alternative seating as their post-pandemic group sizes have increased and are requiring additional seating areas (and books) to accommodate every student.
Quote: "These supplies will be used to help motivate my students and improve their reading abilities. Many of my students face socio-economic challenges and would greatly benefit from these supplies. As a result of this project, I expect my students to be more engaged in learning and grow as scholars."
Total amount awarded: $1,022
Amanda Wilson
Teaches: 3rd grade Math and Science
Project: "Authentic, Hands-On Learning”- Mrs. Wilson plans to use the funds to purchase STEM materials to foster the students' love of learning how things work. She also requested real-world type math materials, such as rulers and calculators. The rulers will help students build skills with measurement and fractions.
Quote: "My third grade students are inquisitive! They have the mindset that there is always something more to know, especially in science. During the pandemic, our students missed out on many hands-on experiences. I want to provide my students with math skills and learning experiences that relate to real life.”
Total amount awarded: $992
There are currently other projects submitted by Perry Public Schools teachers on the DonorsChoose website who did not get selected by OSDE and are still awaiting donations. If you would like to view Perry teacher submissions and donate to a classroom, please visit www.donorschoose.org.