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Three Oklahoma public school foundations honored for their programs’ impact

In World
February 14, 2024

Public school foundation programs in Edmond, Tulsa and Cheyenne have been selected as recipients of the 2024 Outstanding Program Awards for Oklahoma School Foundations, which are presented by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and its Oklahoma School Foundations Network.

The awards recognize innovative programs sponsored or administered by public school foundations in Oklahoma. The winning programs, selected for their impact on their school and community, are the Student Ambassador Program, sponsored by the Edmond Public Schools Foundation; Cheyenne Honors Night, sponsored by the Cheyenne Education Foundation; and the Healthy Thriving Schools Initiative, sponsored by the Foundation for Tulsa Schools.

Each program will receive a plaque and a monetary award of $1,000. They will be honored at OFE’s Academic Awards Celebration on May 4 at Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Norman.

“Each year, we are amazed at the creativity Oklahoma’s public school foundations show in building programs that deeply impact their schools and communities,” said OFE Executive Director Elizabeth Inbody. “With these awards, we not only honor these impactful programs but also provide a platform for sharing their successes in hopes of inspiring other school foundations to create similarly meaningful programs.”

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is a statewide nonprofit that recognizes and encourages excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. The foundation’s Oklahoma School Foundations Network was created to support new and established school foundations across the state. To learn more, visit OFE.org.

Student Ambassador Program, Edmond Public Schools Foundation

The Student Ambassador Program builds advocates for public education, cultivates leaders within the school district and fosters philanthropic endeavors for meaningful impact. High school students from Edmond Public Schools actively participate in monthly meetings where they engage with district, community and state leaders. These students take part in various committees and events, such as speaking at public gatherings, organizing fundraisers, conducting food drives, volunteering in schools and advocating for public education on social media. The program also includes the election of officers from each high school and encourages collaboration among students across different schools through committees focused on philanthropy, advocacy and leadership.

“This recognition celebrates the impactful contributions of high school students to public education through leadership, advocacy and philanthropy, reaffirming that their efforts are truly making a difference,” said Deanna Boston, CEO of the Edmond Public Schools Foundation. “Thank you for helping us mentor the future leaders of public education in our state.”

Cheyenne Honors Night, Cheyenne Educational Foundation

Since 2006, Cheyenne junior high and high school students who excel academically have been celebrated at Cheyenne Honors Night. Approximately 50 students are honored each year with recognition and a prize, and seniors recognize their most influential teacher. Honors Night is now an honored tradition and has grown to include the National Honor Society Induction ceremony.

“The program serves one purpose: to show appreciation of and to give recognition to the students who have excelled academically, who otherwise may go unnoticed during the spring semester awards programs and banquet season,” said foundation board member Dianna Butler, a retired educator and longtime employee of Cheyenne High School. “This program serves as a venue to encourage students in the academic arena and challenges them to continue their diligent efforts for academic excellence.”

Healthy Thriving Schools Initiative, Foundation for Tulsa Schools

The Healthy Thriving Schools Initiative, launched in 2022, is funded and supported through the Foundation for Tulsa Schools and executed by Tulsa Public Schools’ Student and Family Support Services team. This initiative supports staff and resources for implementation of best-practice-model mental health services. The initiative allows TPS to create a district-wide framework to promote the whole child by elevating mental health as a district operational priority, strengthening the district’s social, emotional and mental health foundation and developing the leadership capacity and infrastructure needed to implement a multi-tiered support system.

“As mental health challenges become more prevalent in schools throughout the country, we are very thankful to the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence for recognizing the collaborative work taking place at Tulsa Public Schools to provide the support our students need to be successful, both inside and outside the classroom,” said Moises Echeverria, president and CEO of the Foundation for Tulsa Schools.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence honors Edmond, Cheyenne, Tulsa schools

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