Public School Foundation Awards Grants

Ponca City Public Schools - November 30, 2022 6:54 am

The Ponca City Public School Foundation recently awarded almost $25,000 in grants to Ponca City teachers. “The pandemic has been hard for our students and our teachers,” said Mary Anne Kessler-O’Neill, president of the PCPS Foundation. “We wanted to say ‘yes’ to all of our wonderful teachers who work so hard to make a meaningful impact on our students’ lives.”

Mary Anne said the Foundation received a generous grant from Phillips 66 that enabled them to say yes to some rather large projects. “We were then able to contact some other community partners to say ‘yes’ to others,” she said. “Our Foundation has 10 new members this year, and we are so lucky to have five hard-working longtime members who have been keeping the foundation strong and financially sound. We want to continue the hard work they have been doing.”

Rudonna Bailey of Trout Elementary quoted James Patterson in her application by saying, “There is no such thing as a kid who hates reading. There are kids who love reading, and kids who are reading the wrong books.” To that end, the PCPS Foundation granted her a full request of five classroom sets of books so that the students can all be involved in the same book at the same time.

Several early childhood teachers came to the Foundation with their requests focusing on similar academic goals. Katie Butler of Trout requested a teaching easel that included a large whiteboard and cubbies to hold storage tubs full of teaching tools that will be used during small and large group time.

Aimee Clark’s grant focused on meeting the needs to develop her student’s fine motor skills. As a kindergarten teacher at Union, Aimee wrote that she was seeing students struggle with fine motor skills more and more. Elizabeth Post of Lincoln also wanted to build eye-hand coordination, problem solving, memory and spatial awareness with her first graders. She is using wooden puzzles to accomplish this. Puzzles help students in a multitude of ways. Simply learning the concept of trial and error is a positive learning activity.

Traci Soutter from Washington Pre-K also asked for materials to help build fine motor skills. Students will be inspired to twist, notch and stretch to create fun structures … from giant gear constructions to fantastic imaginary creatures. This grant was made possible by Phillips 66. They believe literacy starts early and want to be an active partner in their community.

Haley Crowder asked for whiteboards in her classroom, which will be provided by Ponca City Public Schools. These improved whiteboards will allow the teacher to have things on the board for longer periods of time. Theresa Sacket at Woodlands asked for Snug Ear Headphones to help reduce distractions while the kids are doing their independent work. Theresa purchased several sets herself last year and found immediate success with them.

Ferran Weese of East Middle School requested a printer which would cut down on wait time for the students. With more and more projects able to be created with the 3D printer, this will be a huge bonus. This 3D printer was made possible by Phillips 66.

Brooke Williams and Jessica Davis from Roosevelt requested light covers for the overhead lights. Research shows that changing the light levels throughout the day can positively impact student engagement and mood. Terri Wilson from Roosevelt requested help in creating her recess bags. Each grade will check out their bag at the beginning of recess. The bag will be full of items such as footballs, playground balls, jump ropes, basketballs and more. Each class is responsible for their own equipment.

Amelia Hensley of Ponca City High School asked for help in her theatre classes meeting the needs for the students to now some sewing skills so they can create costumes and also give them the lifelong learning skill of sewing.

Elise Foss of Liberty asked for materials to help teach social and emotional skills. Books like “I Don’t Bully” and mindfulness activity cards will be used as supplemental tools to materials already in the school. Along those same lines, Christa Goodale requested supplies to create a de-escalation space for students at the high school and East. This grant will allow her to help with the mental health of our students. The Foundation partnered with Community Health Foundation in meeting the needs of these two grants.

Traci McHenry at Union has also seen how the pandemic has affected her students socially and academically. Students are spending more time on technology and less time interacting with others. She wanted to include games in her lessons to teach academic concepts along with social collaboration.

Ferran Weese of East asked for help to purchase drones for the Gifted and Talented program. Students will learn block coding and Python to control their drones through a series of maneuvers. This grant was provided by Phillips 66.

Kaitlyn Ryan is the music teacher at Woodlands and wanted to get more Orff instruments into the hands of as many students as possible. Orff combines music, movement, drama and speech into lessons that are similar to a child’s world of play.

Phillips 66’s grant to the PCPS Foundation for Stem and Literacy Education made the Foundation say yes to Susan Schatz from East to help her students visualize and create scenes from the literature they are reading by using Legos. Legos allow students to show knowledge of the story by a hands-on activity.

The PCPS Foundation serves to financially assist Ponca City Public Schools in maximizing the quality of education for the youth of Ponca City. In order to fulfill its mission, the Foundation solicits and receives both endowment and current program funds and formulates and administers programs in cooperation with the school administration.

The PCPS Foundation is continuing a fundraising campaign during the month of December. Donations to the PCPS Foundation can be sent to P.O. Box 522, Ponca City, OK 74602.



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