Project HOPE brings area students to Northwestern

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Project HOPE brings area students to Northwestern

March 6, 2009

 Project HOPE
Project HOPE students from Waynoka and Freedom are participating with faculty from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in a discovery project relating to native Indians in Oklahoma.
 Indian artifacts
 Project HOPE
Approximately 30 third through eighth grade students, as well as coordinating teachers, from Waynoka and Freedom continue to participate in an ongoing program called Project HOPE or “Helping Others Pursue Excellence” at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

About every Monday from 4-5 p.m. since Feb. 2, Project HOPE students have been learning and participating with different campus departments. Currently, they are learning more about the social sciences as they participate in hands-on discovery projects relating to geography and maps; native Indians in Oklahoma; and the Bill of Rights.

“Northwestern students from social sciences education and elementary education have been working one-on-one with the students during these once a week weekly Social Sciences Discovery workshops,” Kathleen O’Halleran, Social Sciences Teacher Education Program Coordinator, said.

The final session for the social sciences department is March 9. After Spring Break, students will return to Northwestern and learn library skills from Susan Jeffries, director of libraries.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for teacher candidates to engage with public school students in a manner designed to present social sciences as a fun and exciting process of discovery, O’Halleran said. “Our goal is for all students from Waynoka and Freedom to have fun, learn something about social sciences and enjoy their time at Northwestern.”

Students have been gathering in the Education Center for these events, though some activities were planned outdoors, particularly the geo-caching event on Feb. 23.

“Geo-caching is the modern day equivalent of a treasure hunt that reinforces direction and map reading skills,” O’Halleran said.
On March 2, Project HOPE students made teepees, Indian mats and participated in hands-on presentations of Native American cultural artifacts, as a way of learning the history and diversity of Native American culture in this region.

On March 9, the Bill of Rights will be the topic of discovery. Among the activities planned, students will create a comic book fashioned after their favorite Amendment “Hero.”

“Social Sciences Department Chair Kay Decker has been highly instrumental in providing support and direction for the events,” O’Halleran said.

Project HOPE students began the semester with Kimberly Weast associate professor of theatre, in the theatre department. After their current session, they will move on to the library with Jeffries, and end the year learning about agriculture with Steve Sneary, farm manager of Northwestern Farm.

This U.S. Department of Education program awards grants to help provide quality expanded learning opportunities outside of regular school hours in a safe and sound educational environment. Northwestern is a key partner in providing this environment for the students from Waynoka and Freedom. Funding for this program is through a five-year grant that is a component of the “No Child Left Behind Act.”