(Mustang, Oklahoma – August 19, 2020) – The Mustang Education Center (MEC) is a unique building that houses a half-day PreKindergarten Program for three/four year olds and an Alternative Education Program for high school students. For each of the last seven years, the MEC has applied for and received grant funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council (OAC) to provide Arts Instruction to their high school students. On August 15, school principal, Daryl Williamson, received word that they have been awarded another grant for the Fall 2020 semester.
The Oklahoma Arts Council provides grants to eligible organizations for arts programs. Because arts education can positively impact overall student achievement, improve critical thinking skills, and prepare students to succeed in the workforce, the OAC provides grant funding for arts education programs that take place in schools during normal school hours. Alternative education schools within the Oklahoma State Department of Education system are eligible for two grants of up to $2,500 per school year in grant funding for arts education programming; a 5 percent cash match is required. Several factors affect grant funding, including (but not limited to):
Quality of grant application
Quality of program
Project budget – only project deficits are funded
Organization’s funding history and level of organizational capacity (determines support category: Small, Major, or Organizational Support)
Number of underserved individuals in the organization’s community
Amount of funding available from the Council
“Tawnya Merchant, our former Alternative Education Facilitator, started applying for these grants when she started with the MEC approximately six years ago,” former MEC Principal and current MPS Director of Communications, Kirk Wilson said. “We have used these funds to give students experiences in vocal music, African drumming, visual art, writing as an art, and more.” One student who has benefited from the program for the last two years was overheard saying that “the arts program was one of the best parts of [her] day,” and that she “enjoyed learning how to be a better writer by using visual art.”
“We are just so proud to be able to offer these programs to our students,” current MEC principal Daryl Williamson stated. “Without the [Oklahoma] Arts Council, this would not be possible.” This Fall, the grant will be used to bring in renowned poet, Stacy Shaun Perkins. “Mrs. Perkins is an unbelievably talented and interesting person. She brings an incredible wealth of knowledge to our students in her Creative Writing and Poetry class that she facilitates here at MEC for our Alternative Education students. She passes this information to her students in a manner that creates a love and interest for the subject, and plants the seed for successful writers to be born of generations to come.”
About The Oklahoma Arts Council
Oklahoma Arts Council grants ensure individuals statewide have access to the arts. Much of the agency's budget is invested directly into Oklahoma communities in the form of grants, and more than 40 percent of the agency's grant funding supports arts and arts education programming in rural areas. Communities throughout the state benefit from Oklahoma Arts Council grants. For more information, please visit: https://arts.ok.gov/About_Us/Oklahoma_Arts_Council_Mission.html
About The Mustang Education Center
The Mustang Education Center, or MEC as it is called, is a unique building that houses a half-day PreKindergarten Program for three/four year olds and an Alternative Education Program for high school students. This former nursing facility was purchased by the District from a federal housing department for $10 and remodeled for its current use. The building serves more than 200 students on a daily basis, and also provides office space for the District Test Coordinator.
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