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Norman teachers surprised with grants after foundation sees spike in requests

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NORMAN, Okla. - Teachers wondering if they were about to receive money for their classrooms filled a room at Norman North High School.

On Friday morning, 18 teachers were awarded a grant from the Norman Public School Foundation.

"When I sit there and read the grants, I'm like give them all. There's been a time a teacher asked for $100 for pencils, and I just wanted to say I'll give you the $100 check. I don't know what else to do,” said David Goodspeed, a board member with the Norman Public Schools Foundation.

There's been a spike in the number of grant requests this academic year.

Typically, the Norman Public School Foundation receives 350 applications.

This year, it jumped to 550, but only half of the applicants will get grants.

Organizers say $100,000 will be handed out, which is much higher than in past years.

"When the chips get down or the money's not there, whatever the case might be, we band together," said Rachelle Roberts.

Roberts is a special education math teacher.

She was surprised she was granted $4,000 for graphing calculators, which cost about $100 a piece.

"This is something that, because it's so expensive, kids don't have access to them a lot of times, so we're real excited to be able to put this in their hands,” Roberts said.

Technology is the common denominator at Norman North.

"Our biggest need is to just have access to funds that allow us to be innovative in the classroom and to reach everyone no matter what their learning style is,” said Amanda Cordelsky, a library teacher at Norman North.

Teachers are getting creative to get resources to their students with help from the community.

"I think with the teachers knowing that they're having the budget cuts going on in the state, that this just gives them another positive way to get a hold of all these different materials to enhance what's happening in the classroom,” said Jenny Dakil, executive director with Norman Public School Foundation.

For more information, visit the foundation's website.