Teachers at Oklahoma schools woke up with money for classrooms

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Teachers always try to go above and beyond for their students.More often than not, teachers are left holding the bill for special projects. For dozens of teachers at Choctaw-Nicoma Park Schools, their wish list was answered.On Tuesday, 23 teachers woke up with extra money in the bank for their classrooms. The districtwide grants will fund new tools and projects teachers said will help children stay engaged.”If we can’t grant it, then we’re pulling it from our pockets,” said Chrystal Reis, a fifthgrade teacher at Westfall Elementary. “I’m very excited because it allows me to do some extra things with my kids that I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise,” said Deborah Baack, a fourth-grade teacher at Westfall Elementary.Each applied for up to $1,000 in grants from the district’s foundation. At Monday’s Board of Education meeting, the winners were awarded their checks.”I was like, ‘Yes!’ It’s a feeling of relief. One last thing on my plate that I got to deal with,” Baack said.Nine of the chosen teachers were from Westfall Elementary. In total, the school earned over $4,000 in grants.”It does take a lot of money out of our pockets to do special projects. The googly eyes, the straws and pom poms – those don’t come with district funding. That comes with teacher funding,” Reis said.Reis is a fifth-grade teacher at Westfall. She applied for the grant to put on a districtwide STEM night.”When we look at STEM and what the future is asking for, they’re asking for kids to be innovators and problem solvers. That’s what STEM is but it takes money,” Reis said.Baack has been an educator for over 20 years. She said these grants are crucial to give students the special materials needed to help spark imagination and learning.”It’s way more than an occupation, it’s a calling. But not many people feel called because it’s hard and we need all these young people to come in and say, ‘you know what? I’m willing to do a little extra. I’ll write a grant. If my school can’t fund it, then I’m going to step up and do this,’” Baack said.

Teachers always try to go above and beyond for their students.

More often than not, teachers are left holding the bill for special projects. For dozens of teachers at Choctaw-Nicoma Park Schools, their wish list was answered.

On Tuesday, 23 teachers woke up with extra money in the bank for their classrooms. The districtwide grants will fund new tools and projects teachers said will help children stay engaged.

“If we can’t grant it, then we’re pulling it from our pockets,” said Chrystal Reis, a fifthgrade teacher at Westfall Elementary.

“I’m very excited because it allows me to do some extra things with my kids that I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise,” said Deborah Baack, a fourth-grade teacher at Westfall Elementary.

Each applied for up to $1,000 in grants from the district’s foundation. At Monday’s Board of Education meeting, the winners were awarded their checks.

“I was like, ‘Yes!’ It’s a feeling of relief. One last thing on my plate that I got to deal with,” Baack said.

Nine of the chosen teachers were from Westfall Elementary. In total, the school earned over $4,000 in grants.

“It does take a lot of money out of our pockets to do special projects. The googly eyes, the straws and pom poms – those don’t come with district funding. That comes with teacher funding,” Reis said.

Reis is a fifth-grade teacher at Westfall. She applied for the grant to put on a districtwide STEM night.

“When we look at STEM and what the future is asking for, they’re asking for kids to be innovators and problem solvers. That’s what STEM is but it takes money,” Reis said.

Baack has been an educator for over 20 years. She said these grants are crucial to give students the special materials needed to help spark imagination and learning.

“It’s way more than an occupation, it’s a calling. But not many people feel called because it’s hard and we need all these young people to come in and say, ‘you know what? I’m willing to do a little extra. I’ll write a grant. If my school can’t fund it, then I’m going to step up and do this,’” Baack said.