Eight Sand Springs-area teachers are starting the new year with hundreds of dollars of free classroom supplies after attending a teacher-training workshop sponsored by the people of Oklahoma Oil & Natural Gas.

The Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB) workshops instruct teachers how to use one of the OERB’s nine energy-related curricula in their classrooms. The curricula provide teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade hands-on lessons to educate their students on STEM concepts through real-world applications in the oil and natural gas industry. The high school curricula also incorporate language arts and social studies.

The teachers from the Sand Springs-Area who attended the workshop are Trinity Rutledge, Holly Taylor, Jessilyn Schmidt and Melissa Logan (Anderson Public Schools); Wendy Paden, Karen Pirtle and Celeste Thompson (Angus Valley Elementary School); and Rob Lee (Garfield Elementary School).

“We wanted to provide Oklahoma teachers with a program that engages their students, while also meeting the Oklahoma Academic Standards,” said OERB Education Director Carla Schaeperkoetter. “Our curriculum is unique, because it was written by Oklahoma teachers and field tested in classrooms around the state. This process ensures that our lessons are a true supplement to the textbooks and other resources Oklahoma teachers are utilizing throughout the school year.”

OERB workshops are free and train teachers how to appropriately use the curricula in their classrooms. Teachers earn professional development credits for attending. Upon completion of the workshop, teachers receive a lesson guide, a $50 stipend and free box of equipment and supplies, worth up to $1,100. The kit materials, which depending on curriculum include items like graphing calculators, graduated cylinders, pencils and rulers, provide a much-needed boost in classroom resources.

“Some of our kit materials, like hot plates, beakers and scales, are in great demand in many classrooms across the state,” said Schaeperkoetter. “Our resources can help provide new equipment, especially in math and science, that can be used for lessons beyond the OERB curricula.”

The OERB is in its 23rd year offering these free workshops. The hands-on curricula reach students at all ages and grade levels. The OERB provides the Little Bits program for early childhood education, Fossils to Fuel and Fossils to Fuel 2 program for elementary students, Petro Active and Rockin’ Ratios for middle school students and CORE Energy for high school students, which includes a Math, Language Arts, Social Studies and Science curriculum. Each curriculum uses lab experiments, reading assignments, educational games and more.

Celeste Thompson teaches kindergarten at Angus Valley Elementary School and she attended the workshop to help benefit her students.

“The kit materials provides me with extra visual resources with online supplements and field trips will help us take what we’ve learned and actually experience it,” she said.

Melissa Logan teaches kindergarten at Anderson Elementary School and said she would recommend the OERB workshop to other teachers.

“The OERB workshop was very interesting and I learned a lot that will benefit me in the classroom,” she said.

For more information on OERB’s education programs, or to sign up for a workshop, visit OERBHomeRoom.com and click on the “Workshops” tab.

The OERB was created in 1993 by the Oklahoma Legislature and is funded through a voluntary one tenth of 1 percent assessment on oil and natural gas producers and royalty owners. The agency’s purpose is to conduct environmental restoration of historic well sites and to educate Oklahomans about the oil and natural gas industry.

​Kirk McCracken 918-581-8315

kirk.mccracken@sandspringsleader.com