Norman-Based Education Nonprofit Plans Expansion Into Green Country

Sunday, October 24th 2021, 9:12 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

A STEM education program based in Norman is looking to expand to Green Country in order to provide more learning opportunities for rural Oklahoma.

Engage learning Oklahoma partners with school districts to provide after-school online and in-person STEM lab programming

The program was also able to provide hands-on projects for students during the pandemic

Because of a $150,000 grant, the program is growing in northeast rural Oklahoma and parts of the Tulsa Metro.

Executive director Bart Keeton says it's important to focus on the rural areas to make sure kids don't fall under the cracks.

"Half of Oklahoma's kids are in rural schools," Keeton said. "That is a huge problem nationwide; how to bring high-quality STEM to rural students. And we don't think we have the answer, but we certainly think we have something that's effective."

Keeton says the goal is to be able to give all kids in Oklahoma access to STEM regardless of where they're from.

"That's where the access part, you know, what kids in Jenks get, we want to make sure that the kids in Bluejacket also get," Keeton said. "It may not be permanent but at least it's a way we can give them the best possible that we can imagine right now."

Julie Valsaint is a teacher for Wagoner Public schools.

She says she enjoys teaching STEM but admits she could use some help.

With Engage Learning Oklahoma, she says she's felt a lot of stress relieved as a teacher.

"I don't always feel adequate at teaching it," Valsaint said. "So it was extremely helpful having someone come in and have all of the supplies."

Keeton says the $150,000 grant they received will help them expand even more to rural Green Country.