TULSA -- The Tulsa Public School System named two employees at Monroe Demonstration Academy as teacher and support staff member of the year.
Anna Stone, who goes by Ms. Ann, is the attendance clerk and register at the school. She has been with the school since it started in 2011.
"When you come inside my door, you are coming inside a family home," Ms. Ann said. "You are not coming into a school. When you come in, I want you to feel welcome."
She has an endearing personality and never meets a stranger.
The table behind Ms. Ann's desk is filled with cards and pictures of students whose lives she has touched over the years.
Math teacher Shaniqua Ray remembers the first time she met Ms. Ann.
"She was like 'Come here, baby. I know there is something special about you,'" Ray recalled. "She just made me feel at home."
That interaction was two years ago when Ray first started at Monroe. In that short amount of time, She was named district teacher of the year for 2017-18.
"I just want to give them a box full of hope and say 'Here here's hope. You can do it. You can make it,'" Ray said.
Encouraging them and getting the students to believe in themselves is a daily routine in her class.
"I am a great math scholar. I will work hard today," students recited at the beginning of class while standing in a circle.
Rather than rely on technology for her lessons, Ray is using some of the old school methods. She is incorporating music, movement and activity into her lessons.
"The other day, we went outside and we did math on the sidewalk using chalk," Ray said. "It was something different and they're still learning, but it's not sitting at a table."
She also records her lessons and puts them online for students who are absent or need extra time with the material.
At the end of the end of the day, Ms. Ann and Ray do what they do for their students. Their award is just as much for the students as it is for them.
"They had a lot of pride of where they're at and they know what we're doing is the best thing to do, so they start trying to do the same thing," Ms. Ann said about when the students found out about the awards.
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