Howe Public Schools is pleased to announce it has received a $5,000 grant from the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation to provide the addition of an aquaponics system in the school’s high-tech greenhouse.
The grant is part of the Classroom Enhancement Program that supports activities and programs at select schools in rural Oklahoma that will improve the classroom experience for students. Howe Public Schools is located in southeastern Oklahoma and has a total student enrollment of 600 students in grades PK-12th grades.
"We are so pleased to have received this grant," says Scott L. Parks, Superintendent. “The grant funds will assist in adding an aquaponics system to a newly acquired 30 x 48 high tech greenhouse. The district commitment to this project has exceeded $28,000 toward the development of this STEM initiative.
Integrating an aquaponics greenhouse as a learning environment offers boundless opportunities for students in multiple disciplines; however, our focus will be on Vocational Agriculture, Family and Consumer Science and Science programs.” This collaboration will meet Oklahoma Career Tech program standards and state technology standards, and will also support the development of 21st Century skills.
"We appreciate the financial support of the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation," said James Marshall, Howe Vocational Agriculture instructor. “The activities conducted in our school aquaponics greenhouse will expand students’ opportunities for real-world experiences through horticulture, plant science, ecology, agriculture, nutrition and STEM-focused projects. In addition to the program standards coming to life, students will learn responsibility, develop confidence and pride as they work collaboratively throughout the school year.”
High School Science teacher Leigh Ann Cooper is excited for her students to start analyzing the data from the high-tech greenhouse and aquaponics system’s sensors and probes. “Once our sensors and probes are established, the high-tech greenhouse itself will become a data analysis center for monitoring ambient digital temperature, digital solar light and humidity detection, and will also include a digital indoor/outdoor weather station,” Cooper explains. “This is an engaging project with opportunities that encompass all subject areas and provides real hands-on learning for any age group.” In addition to the Vocational Agriculture and High School Science classes, the Family and Consumer Science classes and Middle School Science classes will also be involved in this STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) collaboration.
The Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation was founded by the late Carolyn Watson, CEO and chairman of Shamrock Bank, N.A., in 1995 to improve the quality of life in rural Oklahoma communities.
Through its two grant programs, the organization promotes education, health, literacy and arts and the humanities in 20 Oklahoma counties. Since its inception, the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation has awarded nearly $900,000 in grants to schools, teachers and communities in rural Oklahoma. Additionally, the Carolyn Watson Opportunities Scholarship offers awards of up to $10,000 per academic year for high school seniors graduating from 62 rural Oklahoma counties to attend college.
For more information, please visit www.ruraloklahoma.org