OECU Newsletter – 4th Quarter 2021

OECU Newsletter – 4th Quarter 2021

The OECU 4th Quarter newsletter has just been released! This current issue is available to download.

In this issue:

  • Teacher Grant Upgrades  Page 1
  • Teacher Grants Done Better – page 2
  • Big Idea that Passed the Test – page 3
  • Application Deadline – page 3
  • Teacher Grant Application- page 4
  • Branch Locations & Contact Info- page 4

OECU Holidays

  • October 11, 2021, Columbus Day
    Branch Lobbies: Closed
    Virtual Branch: Open 9am-1pm
    ITM Enabled Drive-Thrus: Open 24/7/365*
  • November 11, 2021, Veterans Day
    Branch Lobbies: Closed
    Virtual Branch: Open 9am-1pm
    ITM Enabled Drive-Thrus: Open 24/7/365*
  • November 25, 2021, Thanksgiving Day
    Branch Lobbies: Closed
    Virtual Branch: Closed
    ITM Enabled Drive-Thrus: Open 24/7/365*

Teacher Grant Upgrades!

In his book on financial advice, The Way to Wealth, Benjamin Franklin wrote,
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” At the core of Franklin’s statement is his unwavering belief that learning is a life-long pursuit and any investment in learning will surely lead to success. Here at OECU, we whole-heartedly believe that Oklahoma educators are best suited to motivate our students in their pursuit of knowledge.

To support educators across the state of Oklahoma, OECU established the
Teacher Grant Program. Since 2001, OECU has enthusiastically used the Teacher Grant Program to support state-wide student success through funding educator-created classroom innovation. OECU is dedicated to supporting the Big Ideas of Oklahoma teachers. Initially established as a bi-annual award, and later annual award, OECU has annually granted hundreds of thousands of dollars to over one thousand creative educators through Teacher Grant investments in a variety of projects meant to enhance hands-on learning for pre-k through 12th-grade students.

OECU knows that the quest for knowledge is never-ending, and has recognized the need to invest even more into Oklahoma educators and their classrooms – we want to hear your Big Idea year-round, anytime. This means that teachers who apply for the Big Idea grant don’t have to wait all year for their next classroom upgrade or to get a fun project started.

OECU is Now Accepting Applications for Big Idea Grants Year-Round!

We value our teachers and students and want to invest in their quests for knowledge and success.

In this issue, we will not only divulge details on how to get your Big Idea turned into a big reality but also showcase a few of our past grant winners so you can see what Oklahoma educators are capable of achieving!

Teacher Grants Done Better!

The Big Idea theme encourages pre-k through 12th-grade educators across Oklahoma to get creative and develop their classrooms and specific projects that engage students to learn in unique and innovative ways. “Teachers inspire greatness within their students,” said Cindy White, President, and CEO of Oklahoma Educators Credit Union. “All of these grants play a major role in building up the next generation, and we are so grateful to be a part of their students’ development.”

Throughout the years, OECU has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to over one thousand Oklahoma teachers who have aspired to positively build up the next generation by transforming their classrooms and developing student projects. OECU has had the privilege to fund Big Ideas all over Oklahoma, each geared towards providing students with exciting new ways to learn. Some of our most recent grant awards have invested in programs that supplied educators with sewing machines, drones, and even 3D printers to provide exposure and build classroom curricula around these new and innovative media.

Trending Applications

Diversity and Culture:
A majority of Oklahoma City Schools have wonderfully diverse student populations. It comes as no surprise then that many Oklahoma teachers have submitted diversity-themed grant applications with the desire to provide better representation and enhanced cultural understanding within their classrooms. For instance, Lisa Loftin, a 12th-grade language arts teacher, and department chair at Mid-Del’s Carl Albert High School were awarded a grant that will fund a library centered on topics of diversity, inclusion, and multi-cultural relationship building. Other Big Idea trends include applications requesting funds for open-ended learning and tinkering (maker spaces); STEM kits and bins; sports equipment like shot put and discus; solar energy kits; and robotics materials. OECU has even funded a Big Idea that helped to transform an entire classroom into a volcano! How cool!

Additional trends include applications requesting funds for learning systems for art history and phonics; audiobook headsets; chapter books; calculators; dictionaries; books on world history; and requests for books to replace those lost during the pandemic school shut-downs.

A Big Idea that Passed the Test!

Project “Save the Bees!”
In 2019, the director of school partnerships and special projects for El Reno High School and BlueSTEM AgriLearning Center (and of course an OECU member!) Kristy K. Ehlers, Ph.D., won OECU’s largest individual teacher grant. Ehlers was awarded $1,566.60 to fund her school’s special project, “Save the BEES!” The program is a STEM project where high school students study honey bees and how valuable and necessary honey bees are to human survival.

Other incredible outdoor Big Idea grants have been awarded to teachers to create a beautiful butterfly garden at Monroney Middle School and to break ground on an outdoor vegetation garden at Banner School. In fact, Big Idea creator of the Monroney Middle School Garden was just awarded additional funds for an irrigation system!

All of these wonderful Big Ideas combine classroom time, technology, and active interaction to create an exciting environment of interesting topics for students.

Application Deadline – Open!

Eligibility for the Teacher Grant Program is easy! Each applicant must be an active OECU member in good standing* and employed at any Oklahoma K-12 institution and/or school district. You can apply now by going to OECU.com/grants. Paper applications are available at any branch location.

If you are interested in applying for the Teacher Grant Program and you aren’t a member, don’t worry – there’s plenty of time to join! There’s no deadline for the Teacher Grant Program. Educators with Big Ideas can apply anytime because of OECU’s Teacher GrantThe program is now continuous, which means funds will be awarded to Oklahoma teachers every month! You can become a member today by stopping by a branch, by visiting online at OECU.com/about-us/become-a-member.

Grant recipients will be chosen by the Teacher Grant Committee. The Committee will base its selection on the information provided by the applicant.

Our grants are not limited to any school district, grade level, or subject matter! When submitting your grant application, it is important to show your work! Give us all the details – be specific; information to be considered includes, but is not limited to: the reason for the project, clearly stated goals, whether or not the funds will provide reusable materials; are matching funds available; how broad of a group of students will the funding benefit; and of course, OECU membership. All Committee decisions will be final.

OECU understands that sometimes the smallest things have the biggest impact, which is why OECU has kept the tradition of awarding grants for a variety of helpful purposes including funding the purchase of classroom equipment, teaching materials, and other classroom necessities. However, OECU will not award funds for furniture; field trips; electronic equipment for one-person use; magazine subscriptions; software subscriptions; or supplies typically provided by the school. Oklahoma Educators Credit Union endeavors to give priority to active OECU members in good standing* who use our banking and lending products. If your Big Idea is selected, we will notify you via letter or e-mail. For those of you who have already submitted an application, be on the lookout for your certificate of approval!

OECU loves to receive updates of project progress and classroom upgrades! Show us the fun and imaginative way your Big Idea has transformed your students’ education and the environment! Send photos and updates to: marketing@oecu.com or tag us @OKEDCU.