Ideal Homes donates new desks, smart TV’s to Central Elementary

When Guthrie Central Elementary School students returned for the first day of school this year, they were surprised to find every classroom outfitted with new desks and smart TVs replacing old smart boards. More than $30,000 in new equipment was donated by Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods, a local homebuilder and developer in the Guthrie community of Mission Hills. Elementary students who live in Mission Hills will attend Central Elementary.

Students were especially excited about the brand-new desks. As principal, Dani Watson said, “Clean, no gouges, no graffiti, even the teachers’ jaws dropped when they first saw the desks. It seems like such a little thing, but it means so much. I’ve been with Guthrie Schools for 21 years, and I’ve never seen the classrooms look this good.”

Ronda McKown oversees philanthropy and outreach at Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods. “Very often,” she said, “our company donations are directed to organizations that have a special meaning to our employees. In this case, our chief financial officer, JaRee Stambeck, and her husband Bryan are proud alumni of Central Elementary.” With the school chosen as a beneficiary, McKown contacted Guthrie Superintendent Dr. Mike Simpson during the 2022-23 school year to explore opportunities for the school. He put the company in touch with Principal Watson.

“Ronda asked me to tell her about our smallest wishes and our biggest dreams,” Watson said. “In addition to the little things, she kept encouraging me to dream bigger. So, we discussed the desks and, finally, the smart TVs. We never, ever, dared to dream this big! The new TVs came with virtual training. You should have seen our teachers! They couldn’t even believe everything they could do with them.

“These TVs are a real game changer. Every teacher has access to split-screen capability, Google Classroom, Clever, and other apps to help move our students into the world of digital learning. Our old smart boards were hand-me-downs from at least 10 years ago. The students are thrilled, and we’re so excited about the progress they will make because of them.”

Guthrie Central Elementary School is a historic school built in 1929. “It’s really nice to see new equipment in this lovely old building,” Watson said. “We are so grateful to Ideal Homes for helping our students in such a meaningful way.”


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