With the recent head-to-head battle between educators and legislators simmering down, Shawnee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. April Grace took time during Teacher Appreciation week to applaud her teaching staff.

With the recent head-to-head battle between educators and legislators simmering down, Shawnee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. April Grace took time during Teacher Appreciation week to applaud her teaching staff.

“I appreciate our teaching staff and its tireless efforts in working toward doing great things every day for the students of Shawnee Public Schools,” she said. “There is no greater profession to be a part of than education.”

No one person has a greater impact on student learning outside of parents than the teacher in the classroom, she said.

“We honor them for their commitment to the profession and the bold stance teachers took this year during the teacher walkout to advocate for our students and education in Oklahoma,” she said.

This week Grace also had a specific opportunity to congratulate one of her administrators — Assistant Superintendent Brent Houston — for receiving the OASA District 9 Asst. Superintendent/Central Office Administrator of the Year award.

“He is being recognized for the contribution he makes to the district and the profession,” she said. “I am very proud of Brent for receiving this honor, he is very deserving.”

She said Houston is a hard working and dedicated administrator who serves Shawnee Public Schools tirelessly.

“Brent epitomizes professionalism in every situation,” she said. “I am honored to work with such an outstanding administrator.”

In other news, SPS recently received a grant that allows the district to continue to enhance the learning experience for its early childhood students.

“We couldn’t be more excited,” Grace said.

The Shawnee Early Childhood Center (SECC) was awarded a grant from the Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust (OETT) for $40,000.

The money will be used to purchase additional technology for the school, she said.

“OETT is in partnership with the K20 Center to provide year-long intensive professional development to the SECC staff,” she explained. “The grant will support the school’s technology vision — that students will use technology in a challenging curriculum to prepare for real world applications.”

She said plans for technology include additional iPads for the classrooms; coding robots for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten; enhancements to the STEM lab and green screen production studio; and other supports for instruction and teacher collaboration. Instructional supports include the addition of a google Home Mini for each classroom, enabling young learners to conduct independent research as they develop a curiosity for the world around them, as well as other technology items, Grace said.

Also, enrollment is open for pre-kindergarten now, Grace said.

“Spots are limited, so we encourage parents to enroll early,” she said.