By Caitlin Schudalla
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Norman Chamber of Commerce went a step further Tuesday in its mission of facilitating a partnership between local public schools and businesses by designating the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy as its first Champion in Education.
“We created this award to thank partners who are especially beneficial to school students and to encourage more partnerships or get more businesses on board,” committee co-chair John Koons said.
The Bart Conner Gym is a prime candidate for the inaugural award, currently serving about 97 Norman Public Schools elementary students in NPS Autism and moderate cognitive programs, providing trained instructors and use of the facilities at no cost to students’ families or the schools.
“There are so many positive testimonials, such as students who, since attending the program, have become more verbal and made progress in the area of gross motor skills and following multi-step directions,” committee co-chair Robyn Castleberry said when introducing the award. “The value of this partnership to our special services program cannot be overstated.”
Superintendent Joe Siano echoed the praise of the partnership, calling its contribution “incredible.”
“This partnership demonstrates what business and education can achieve for students when they innovate and work collaboratively,” Siano said.
Now in its fourth year, the partnership began with just one elementary autism program and grew significantly each year to encompass 10 programs, adding once-a-month free gym access for program students and their families.
Find out more about the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy at bartconnergymastics.com or call 447-7500.