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Five area educators receive SWEPCO grants

Five area educators receive SWEPCO grants

Four hail from Texarkana, one from Queen City

July 12th, 2019 by Gazette Staff in Texarkana News

Four Texarkana teachers and one Queen City teacher received AEP Teacher Vision Grants from Southwestern Electric Power Co. to improve classroom learning.

They are:


  • Nathan Upchurch, a Texas High School science teacher, who will use his $500 grant to purchase a Meade Coronado Personal Solar Telescope.

"We are grateful for the generosity of AEP SWEPCO for giving us resources to expand our students' understanding of the natural world around them," said Upchurch. "Students will use the solar telescope to see in real time a very active star with prominences, flares and ejections."


  • Ashley Easley, a teacher at J.K. Hileman Elementary in Queen City, who will use the $500 grant for scholarships so five students can attend Camp Invention, a STEM summer camp,


  • Erika Purtle, a third-grade teacher at Waggoner Creek Elementary School in Texarkana, who will receive $219 to develop independent learning centers for her students' number sense, master problem solving and algebraic thinking,


  • Daniel Beall, a Texas Middle School teacher, who will use his $500 grant to develop obstacles for a drone racing challenge.


  • Hannah Woodward, a third-grade Morriss Mathematics & Engineering Elementary School teacher, who will receive $500 for a document camera for to create videos and interactive lessons for students.

Woodward said the grant gives her the opportunity to improve learning in her classroom. Her existing document camera only works in real time, but the new equipment will enable her to record lessons with audio so students can review them whenever needed.

Similarly, Purtle hopes the additional materials her grant funds will allow her to implement creative, hands-on learning in her third-grade classroom.

The AEP Teacher Vision Grant program launched in 2003 to provide aid ranging from $100 to $500 to classroom teachers.

"These grants are designed to reward the talents and creativity of Pre-K through grade 12 educators devoted to motivating youth to think creatively, to step into leadership roles and to address the challenges of the future," said SWEPCO External Affairs Manager Jennifer Harland.

Educators who live or teach in the SWEPCO's service area or in communities with major SWEPCO facilities are eligible to apply for the mini-grants. Projects that have an academic focus and a goal of improving student achievement are eligible for consideration. SWEPCO has a special interest in science, mathematics, technology, electrical safety and the balanced study of energy and the environment.

For more information on the AEP Teacher Vision Grant program and other SWEPCO education initiatives, see aep.com/community/TeachersAndStudents

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