EPS Foundation presents teacher grants

McKinley Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Jami Sponsel (right) receives grant funding from Enid Public School Foundation trustee Maranda Phares on Friday. (Mitchell Willetts / Enid News & Eagle)

ENID, Okla. — Enid Public School Foundation gave away nearly $23,000 in grant funding to teachers at 14 schools across the district Friday.

EPS administration and EPS Foundation members spent half the day visiting classrooms and personally delivering checks to teachers who applied for grants. The grant process is competitive, according to the foundation. All submissions are presented anonymously to a special committee that selects recipients.

A total of 52 grant requests were funded.

Requests were varied, ranging from virtual reality equipment, robotics and coding kits, to puppets and props for kindergarteners. Still, technology proved the most popular category, according to the EPS Foundation.

The implementation of 1:1, which provided computers and tablets to every student in the district, has encouraged teachers to invest more time and energy into tech use in the classroom, the foundation said.

“Our teachers are experts at using what they have, but thanks to our generous community, they have access to the right resources for optimal learning,” said Janna Jackson, EPSF executive director.

Grants are provided twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. More than $54,000 was provided this school year.

Dan Dillingham, of Dillingham Insurance, helped hand deliver a $400 check to McKinley Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Jami Sponsel. Dillingham is a Signature Grant Donor, meaning he has donated at least $10,000 to EPS Foundation in the past.

Dillingham said he comes to visit McKinley nearly every time the foundation makes a donation to the school. Whatever the size of the check, whatever the teacher purchases with it, it always seems to have a positive impact, he said.

"I've had teachers tell me their kids are more into their lessons, there's more questions being asked, there's more attention being paid," he said.

Sponsel will use this latest donation to purchase a Qball, a throwable ball with an internal microphone, useful in a classroom setting for encouraging kids to take turns speaking. It also will make some of the more shy students easier to hear, Sponsel said, and hopefully make them more apt to speak up. Sponsel shared the grant with third-grade teacher Jaclyn Bowen.

"It's going to make it much easier to keep all of my students engaged," she said.

Grant recipients were:

• "STEM, Solve, Share and Create," $519, Coolidge Elementary School, Alexxis Farmer.

• "Spark Imagination in Science!" $517, Coolidge, Jennifer Brickman.

• "Just a Little Bit of Knowledge," $585; "Oh Ozzy!" $597; "What a Motley-Botley Crew," $850; and "Wish Upon A Star?" presented by the Herman Hackett Family, $645, Coolidge, Karla Johnson.

• "Robotic Invasion," presented by Owen K. Garriott, $1,000, Coolidge, Roy Bartnick.

• "Engineers at Work," $500; "Math Mania," presented by Liberty Federal Savings Bank, $153; "10 Math Manipulatives," $123; and "Science Models," $79, Coolidge, Tina Green.

• "Rockin' Rhythm," presented by the Bob Costello Memorial, $300: "Strumming Away," $375; "Coding Craze," $100; and "Do You See What I See?" $150, Eisenhower/Hoover Elementary School, Rachael Spears.

• "Breakout to Learn Language Arts Skills!", $300; and "Scholastic Action! (Engaging All Learners)," $252, Emerson Middle School, Amy Allen.

• "Flexible Balance Ball Seating," $211, Emerson, DeeDee Brown.

• "Making Future 3D Printing Experts," $299; and "Making Future Drone Programming Experts," $399, Emerson, Indrit Vucaj.

• "Sticking To It — An Exploration of the Power of Magnetism," $428, Emerson, Heather Reames.

• "Breakout to Learn New Skills!" $300; and "Maker Space Fun!" $408, Emerson, Janice Fuksa.

• "Scholastic News," $417, Emerson, Michelle Schemmer.

• "Independent Reading," $353, Enid High School, Brittany Harber.

• "Extra!Extra! Print All About It!" $775, Enid High, Jessica Shaw.

• "Get with the Program: Coding for AI and Robots," $736, Enid High, Robert Day.

• "Student Constructed Field Trip VR," presented by Myra Ward, $763, Enid High, Terry Sacket.

• "Facilitating Phonics with Fundations," presented by Rotary Club of Enid, $847, Garfield Elementary School, Debbie Turner.

• "Good News! Your Prior Investment is Making a High Rate of Return!" $311; "Music, Movement, and Math: The Winning Combination," $93; and "Writing in Style(us)," $53, Garfield, Jamie Aguilar.

• "Finding Our Voices and Having a Ball!" $433, Garfield, Toni Webb.

• "Calm and Ready to Learn," $534' and "Fidgety Feet," $539, Glenwood Elementary School, Cristy Teply/occupational.

• "Swinging to Success," $470, Hayes/Eisenhower Elementary School, Emily Tydings.

• "3D Models in the Science Classroom," presented by Bill and Avis Ward, $126, Enid High, Ashlyn Dempster.

• "Headphone Helpers," $389, Longfellow Middle School, Renae Lewis.

• "Robot Coding and the Real World," presented by Walter and Peggy Scheffe, $434; and "Show Us What You Got!" $193, Longfellow, Theri Ray.

ª "The Magic of the Qball," presented by Dan and Kay Dillingham, $400, McKinley Elementary School, Jami Sponsel and Jaclyn Bowen.

• "Stories, STEAM and Learning," $258, Monroe Elementary School, Amanda Purdy.

• "Building Positive Classroom Behaviors through Self-Regulation," $363; and "What Will I Be? Just You Wait and See!" presented by Johnston Enterprises, $321, Monroe, Kerri Rainey.

• "Creating with Cubelets," $440; and "Robots for Infinite Possibilities," $700, Monroe, Pamela Seigel.

• "Fairy Tale Frolics," presented by John and Susan Bowers, $454; "Kids Count!" $252; and "Out to Learn!" presented by Bill and Linda Athey $957, Prairie View Elementary School, Shawna Tanner.

• "Marvelous Manipulatives for Marvelous Learners," presented by the Jim and Mary Barnes Foundation, $282, Taft Elementary School, Charla Good.

• "If You Build It They Will Come ..." $912; and "Playing Inside the Box!" presented by Guarantee Abstract-The Humphrey Family, $1,000, Waller Middle School, Kitty Herbel.

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Willetts is education reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. He can be reached at mwilletts@enidnews.com.