Oklahoma Elementary Competing for 25K Grant From Pepsi

Wednesday, December 14th 2011, 7:28 pm
By: News 9

Metropolitan area schools usually get new technology and tools before the smaller ones.  One small Oklahoma school is fighting back though, and it's looking to a national company for help.

Eastside Elementary in Chandler, Oklahoma houses pre-k through second grade.  The school is participating in the Pepsi Refresh Everything Project, with hopes of equipping their entire school with smart boards.

Rachel Moehle, a second grade teacher at Eastside, has had one for the past three years.

"There were just a few available within the district,' said Moehle.  "And I was able to get one and really put it into use and see how effective it can be in the classroom."

Moehle uses the smart board for a variety of lessons, most of them interactive, from a tic-tac-toe game that teaches vocabulary, to creating math worksheets that the students follow along with from their desks.

"It's like combining a computer and an old overhead projector into one," said Moehle.  "Not having to have the chalkboard or the white board to write on."

Another Eastside teacher discovered the Pepsi Refresh Everything Project, and the idea quickly spread to all of Eastside's teachers and parents.  Mandy Myers has two children that attend Eastside, and she was more than happy to help coordinate the effort. 

The school is in the running for one of Pepsi's twenty-five thousand dollar grants, which would cover the cost of putting a new smart board in every classroom at Eastside.  However, there are only fifteen of the grants to go around, and Eastside needs votes to stay in contention.

"As long as we stay in the top fifteen through the month of December, the whole month, we will receive the award," said Myers.  "I feel like anyone in Chandler who is willing to vote, is voting. We've tapped out our three thousand population here."

The school campus is covered with signs urging people to vote, the high school has helped out and many vehicles are covered with shoe polish urging folks to vote. 

Moehle realizes that many voters may not understand the urgency for new technology, since they grew up using chalk and erasers, but she sees the smart boards as vital learning tools. 

"It was a very great way of learning for the way life was then," Moehle said.  "And this a very great way of learning for the way life is now."

TO VOTE FOR EASTSIDE ELEMENTARY, VISIT www.refresheverything.com/smartboardsforeastside