SWEPCO teacher vision grants aid educators in the classroom

AEP Teacher Vision Grants from Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) will enable several teachers across SWEPCO’s service territory to enhance student learning in the classroom.

Sixteen area teachers each received a grant ranging between $219 and $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, Texas, 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.”

Waggoner Creek Elementary School teacher Erika Purtle will use her $500 AEP Teacher Vision Grant to acquire independent learning centers to aid third-grade students in developing number sense, master problem solving and algebraic thinking.

In addition to a telescope for Texas High School students, other grant projects include:

Texarkana area

  • $500 – Scholarships for five students in Ashley Easley’s class at J.K. Hileman Elementary in Queen City, Texas, to attend Camp Invention, a STEM summer camp
  • $219 –Use independent learning centers to aid third-grade students at Waggoner Creek Elementary School in Texarkana to develop number sense, master problem solving and algebraic thinking.
  • $500 – Create a drone racing challenge at Texas Middle School in Texarkana that will encourage schools and students to explore the new technology and its role in our future.
  • $500 – Use a document camera to create videos and interactive lessons to engage third-grade students at Morriss Mathematics & Engineering Elementary School in a new way.

Northwest Arkansas

  • $250 – Equip special education students at Farmington Middle School with specialized headphones with text-to-speech features compatible with Chromebook computers. These features enable students to access materials independently.
  • $500 – Utilize educational programming robots — Ozobots — to enable Farmington High School students in Shawna Williams’ class to gain hands-on coding skills and a deeper understanding of computer science. 
  • $500 – Empower seventh-grade students at Arkansas Arts Academy in Rogers to explore engineering and architecture through hands-on structural engineering sets.
  • $500 – Engage Farmington High School students in STEM activities using Chromebook computers.
  • $500 – Use hands-on classroom tools to enable students at Hackett Elementary to observe, describe and predict patterns on the movement of the sun and phases of the moon.
  • $500 – Use near-field communication supplies to enable five groups of up to 10 students at Helen Tyson Middle School to create resources for the school and community.
  • $450 – Use electrical resources for students at Hackett High School to apply electrical principles and theories to wire residential electrical circuits.

Northwest Louisiana

  • $500 – Upgrade the projector in Matthew Murray’s classroom at Donnie Bickham Middle School in Shreveport to allow students to use technology to practice language and writing skills in a way they have not been able to before.
  • $500 – Acquire telescopes, DNA kits and a host of other tools for science experiments students at Riverside Elementary will use while learning about “The Making of a Scientist.”

East Texas

  • $500 – Enable students in Elizabeth White’s engineering students at Pine Tree High School in Longview to learn electrical wiring and coding skills through the creation of an interactive display made from poster board.
  • $500 – Use Osmo Genius Kits, a game system for tablets, to foster creativity and problem-solving skills through hands-on learning among kindergarten students at Sam Houston Elementary in Marshall, Texas.

Shawna Williams, the Farmington High School teacher using the grant for the educational programming robots, said the coding skills her students will gain from them have many benefits.

“Not only will these coding skills help students learn problem solving and use higher-order thinking, but it also will improve communication skills as students work together to solve common problems,” she said.

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 Vice President Brian Bond.

Educators who live or teach in the SWEPCO 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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