SWEPCO grants aid Texarkana teachers in the classroom

Texarkana, Texas July 11, 2019 – AEP Teacher Vision Grants from Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) will enable several Southwest Arkansas teachers to improve student learning in the classroom.

Four Texarkana teachers and one Queen City teacher each received a grant ranging from $219 to $500 for a classroom project.

“We are grateful for the generosity of AEP SWEPCO for giving us resources to expand our students’ understanding of the natural world around them,” said Nathan Upchurch, a science teacher at Texas High School in Texarkana who will use his $500 grant to purchase a Meade Coronado Personal Solar Telescope. “Students will use the solar telescope to see in real time a very active star with prominences, flares and ejections.”

In addition to Upchurch’s telescope, other grant projects include:

  • $500 – Scholarships for five students in Ashley Easley’s class at J.K. Hileman Elementary in Queen City to attend Camp Invention, a STEM summer camp
  • $219 –Independent learning centers that will help third-grade students in Erika Purtle’s class at Waggoner Creek Elementary School in Texarkana to develop number sense, master problem solving and algebraic thinking.
  • $500 – Obstacles for a drone racing challenge at Texas Middle School in Texarkana coordinated by Daniel Beall.
  • $500 – A document camera for third-grade teacher Hannah Woodward to use to create videos and interactive lessons for her students at Morriss Mathematics & Engineering Elementary School.

Woodward said the grant means the world to her because it gives her the opportunity to improve learning in her classroom. She said her existing document camera only works in real time, but the new equipment will enable her to record lessons with audio so students can review them whenever needed.

Similarly, Purtle hopes the additional materials her grant funds will allow her to implement creative, hands-on learning in her third-grade classroom.

The AEP Teacher Vision Grant program launched in 2003 to provide aid ranging from $100 to $500 to classroom teachers. 

“These grants are designed to reward the talents and creativity of Pre-K through grade 12 educators devoted to motivating youth to think creatively, to step into leadership roles and to address the challenges of the future,” said SWEPCO External Affairs Manager Jennifer Harland.  

Educators who live or teach in the SWEPCO’s service area or in communities with major SWEPCO facilities are eligible to apply for the mini-grants.  Projects that have an academic focus and a goal of improving student achievement are eligible for consideration. SWEPCO has a special interest in science, mathematics, technology, electrical safety and the balanced study of energy and the environment. 

For more information on the AEP Teacher Vision Grant program and other SWEPCO education initiatives, see www.aep.com/community/TeachersAndStudents/

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