DUNCAN, OK (RNN Texoma) - The Duncan Public Schools Foundation has just awarded $65,000 in DEx awards, or Demon Excellence Awards, for teacher grants.
Sharon Banks was thrilled to receive one DEx award, a collaborative grant for the entire school’s arts curriculum, last year. This year, she received two.
“So excited that we were able to do both the professional development, that will help me as a teacher, but also get things for the kids to do hands-on,” said Sharon Banks, a third grade teacher at Mark Twain Elementary School.
One grant will allow Banks to travel to California for a STEM conference. The second award will allow her to purchase several hands-on learning tools, like robots and computer programming systems. Banks said the new additions will help with curriculum.
“My students love STEM,” said Banks. “I do a coding unit with them after testing that really helps with their problem solving and their thinking ability to be able to work through problems more easily and not stop and be frustrated.”
The DEx awards are made possible through donations from the community.
“We just hope that our donors will see how these awards are benefiting the kids in the classroom, is really what it comes down to," said Haylee Root, the Duncan Public Schools Foundation executive director. "Whether a teacher is going to a professional development class or conference, or actually bringing in robots or STEM activities in the classroom, it is all benefiting the children in the classroom. We want the community to see that these are things the teachers know they need in their classroom and they’re asking for it directly and they’re getting the funding directly from us.”
Root said she hopes in the future the grants can be awarded year-round.
“Our goal is if we can get enough funding for this program, that we would actually be able to do selections all year long at every single board meeting, said Root. "We would be able to approve the awards that come through.”
The Duncan Public Schools Foundation still has $5,000 left in grants they plan to give out before the end of the year.
If you’d like to learn more about DEx awards, or become a donor, you can visit the Duncan Public Schools Foundation website at www.duncankids.org.