PSO Announces $250,000 AEP Foundation Grant to Expand Reading Partners in Tulsa Public Schools

SIGNIFICANT GIFT: Justin Harlan, left, senior executive director of Reading Partners in Tulsa, and Peggy Simmons, PSO president and chief executive officer, display a $250,000 check to Reading Partners in Tulsa Public Schools.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), has awarded a $250,000 grant from the AEP Foundation that will provide funding to Reading Partners to help expand academic tutoring in Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) over the next five years.
The commitment from the AEP Foundation to Reading Partners will provide resources for its unique K-4th grade literacy and mentoring curriculum’s initial expansion within TPS.
“On behalf of the AEP Foundation, PSO is pleased to announce this gift to help Reading Partners address a critical need in Tulsa,” said Peggy Simmons, PSO president and chief operating officer. “With just one in four Oklahoma fourth graders reading at a proficient level, and over one in three lacking even basic literacy skills, we need resources like Reading Partners to help address that significant achievement gap.”
Reading Partners became part of the Tulsa educational landscape in 2013, when it began placing community volunteers in low-income elementary schools of Tulsa Public Schools to help students master basic reading skills. Using their one-on-one tutoring model, Reading Partners empowers students to succeed in reading and in life by engaging community volunteers to provide individualized, personal attention to each student in the program.
“We are grateful to PSO and the AEP Foundation for this tremendous gift,” said Justin Harlan, senior executive director, Reading Partners in Tulsa. “The grant will allow us to strengthen our ties to the community of volunteers and positively impact the learning opportunities for our children.”
Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist points to Reading Partners’ track record of success as the reason she endorses the program’s expansion.
“We know that the one-on-one support our students receive from Reading Partners volunteers make a meaningful difference for our young readers who are working to reach grade-level literacy,” said Gist. “We are grateful to the AEP Foundation for this extraordinary investment in building brighter futures for our students.”

About Reading Partners
For 20 years, Reading Partners has empowered students to succeed in reading and in life by engaging community volunteers to provide one-on-one tutoring. Since its founding, the national nonprofit organization has mobilized nearly 55,000 community volunteers to provide proven, individualized literacy tutoring to more than 50,000 elementary school students in under-resourced schools across 10 states and the District of Columbia.
Reading Partners in Tulsa worked with more than 1,700 students across 26 elementary schools during the 2018-2019 school year. More than 1,900 community volunteers conducted more than 55,000 weekly tutoring sessions to help students master key foundational reading skills needed to read at grade level.

About PSO
PSO is an electric utility company serving more than 554,000 customer accounts across 30,000 square miles in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma. Based in Tulsa, PSO has nearly 3,800 megawatts of primarily gas-fired generating capacity, 22-thousand miles of distribution lines, 37-hundred miles of transmission lines, and is one of the largest distributors of wind energy in the state. Find news releases and other information about PSO at Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @PSOklahoma.
About the AEP Foundation 
The American Electric Power Foundation is funded by American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and its utility operating units, including Public Service Company of Oklahoma. The Foundation provides a permanent, ongoing resource for charitable initiatives involving higher dollar values and multi-year commitments in the communities served by AEP and initiatives outside of AEP’s 11-state service area.
The Foundation focuses on improving lives through education from early childhood education through higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math and by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger. Other Foundation support may be offered to protect the environment, support healthcare and safety, and enrich life through art, music and cultural heritage.