OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Public School Resource Center has just launched the Catalyst Education Fund that will bring dollars to promote innovation in Oklahoma’s rural public schools.

The fund will aid in supporting the arts, STEM and technology programs for small districts that do not often have the funds to fully implement them on a larger scale.

The CEF was created as a unique tax credit program that allows businesses to directly support groundbreaking educational programs in public schools. The fund is set up so that 100% of the donations will go directly to schools for projects that help students attain the necessary skills and knowledge to compete globally for careers in highly specialized fields.

Currently, executives in various fields including science, engineering and energy are having great difficulty filling positions that require an advanced level of science and math proficiencies.  

“What we’re seeing now are students graduating from high school who have not been trained in the logic of how to interpret and take a problem from point A to point B,” said Luke Curley, president of Oklahoma City’s Shoreline Capitol and managing partner of the Monterey Energy Group.

The CEF will provide rural schools the opportunity to not only bolster existing curriculum but will also give them the ability to implement new programs in these areas.  This will help give their students access to learning opportunities that students in larger districts have.

“We want every child in the state of Oklahoma to have access to resources they’ll need to be competitive in any field they choose,” said OPSRC Executive Director Brent Bushey. “The specific programs on which the CEF concentrates will help deliver a rich and robust educational experience for students, which is something they all deserve and we are proud to be able to support.”

The OPSRC is fundraising through December 31 for the initiative while actively developing guidelines and selection criteria for the granting process. These guidelines will be available by January 2015, and applications will then be accepted through March 11, 2015.  

Selected schools will be notified by June 1, 2015, after which awards will be presented to the schools for immediate use.  All donations made after January 1, 2015 will be awarded for the 2016-2017 school year.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center is a non-profit organization that provides essential resources, professional development and networking opportunities for the state’s public school districts.  The Center advocates on behalf of public schools for high-quality instruction and supports increasing classroom innovation.

For more information, visit catalystfund.org or email OPSRC at info@opsrc.net.