A metro college assignment earned federal funding and is now making its way into Oklahoma classrooms.
The educational program, designed by a group of students from the University of Central Oklahoma, was built to help combat school violence.
“We have one of the highest levels of violence among children and factors that contribute to violence,” said Sandra Martin, who is a lecturer at UCO.
Martin said Oklahoma’s high incarceration rate, pockets of hate-groups, and domestic violence are just a few of the factors leading to a cycle of violence.
“Students need to learn to tolerate one another, embrace one another, learn different cultures,” said Tyler Weldon, who is an Associate Professor in the education department at UCO.
A group of students at UCO took their research from the United Health Foundation's National Health Ranking, creating an educational program for students.
“It's designed for lower elementary grades because our research told us that our kids begin to form biases, and strong perceptions and prejudices by 2nd or 3rd grade,” said Martin.
“Our focus really is on tolerance training and getting in front of the development of bullying,” said Weldon.
The $657,000 Homeland Security Grant allows them to fully fund 200 classrooms. Teachers can get $100 per module and can receive another $100 for providing UCO feedback after the training.
“Every module comes with activities and lessons that have needed supplies and we are going to provide all of those for teachers. It includes sampling foods from around the world so students can experience different tastes and bites,” said Weldon.
Teachers can tailor the modules to their liking, and they don’t need to complete all five to get supplies or incentives.
The modules will be available for teachers this fall but they will need to sign up for the program.
First through fourth grade teachers interested in the program can register here.
Anyone interested and wanting more information can email UCO at firstname.lastname@example.org.