Elective classes for elementary students at Tulsa’s Wayman Tisdale Fine Arts Academy, called Club Friday, received a big boost in May with a $4,500 donation from Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO). The donation, which will be paid over the next three years, was made during a special presentation at the school.
Club Friday is a unique program that allows Tisdale students to choose a different elective each semester, and has become an instant success.
The one-hour classes, which are held every Friday morning, are created by teachers and staff members based on their own interests. In just its first year, the school offered 27 elective classes with topics ranging from jewelry-making to fashion design, photography and robotics. School officials say Club Friday is a way to expose kids to nontraditional art forms and give them confidence to learn new skills.
But beyond that, Tisdale Principal Elaine Buxton says Club Friday is part of a three-year plan designed to assure the school lives up to its name as a fine arts academy by ensuring students are receiving teaching in the arts.
“If we want our kids to feed into Central (Jr. and Sr. High School) and be ready to attend Central, then we have to be able to offer them all of these things,” said Buxton.
PSO External Affairs Manager Carole Huff Hicks says the connection to Central, known as Tulsa’s fine and performing arts school, is an important factor in leveraging the success Tisdale students achieve at an elementary level and building on it throughout their public school education.
“With Tisdale being a feeder school to Central Jr. and Sr. High School, with which we have been formal partners since 1984 through Tulsa Public Schools’ Partners in Education program, our contributions and efforts help establish a strong foundation for the students to build on as we encourage their growth and academic development throughout their entire elementary and secondary education.
“As one of our partner schools, we already have employee volunteers at Tisdale who are tutoring students in reading and math. Providing support for Club Friday is another way we can strengthen that partnership and help the school and its students build on their success,” said Huff Hicks.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma, a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), is an electric utility company serving more than 550,000 customer accounts in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma. Based in Tulsa, PSO has more than 3,800 megawatts of generating capacity and is one of the largest distributors of wind energy in the state.