With education funding in a tentative state, some teachers have chosen to take the matter into their own hands — using Donors Choose to advertise the projects and resources in their classroom that need financial support.
Anyone with a charitable streak can then browse the projects on the website and choose to donate with the click of a button. Donors get updates on the project once it reaches its funding goal, with pictures and a thank you letter from the teacher. Those who donate more than $100 also get hand-written thank you letters from the students.
In Berkeley, more than 40 educators are seeking to boost their classroom supplies and launch learning initiatives this way.
At , Mrs Alastra wants to help her 6th and 7th grade students get addicted to reading. She's requested 25 copies of The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. "This novel is thought-provoking and engaging and I know my students will love it!" writes Alastra on her Donors Choose project page. "This novel will inspire great discussions and allow middle schoolers to think about and debate serious issues. Most importantly, this novel will get my students excited about reading."
Donors can also leave notes on the page about why they have chosen to support the project. "I gave to this project because I believe in the potential of each of you students to thrive, grow and reach for your own dreams," wrote Alan De Bella on Alastra's page. "Anything is possible if you try your best and listen to your own heart."
Here's a sampling of the other projects in Berkeley seeking funding:
Mrs. Salazar at Aspire California College Prepatory is seeking classroom equipment for an algebra project.
Mr. A at needs "just right" library books in English and Spanish.
At , Mrs. Hendrickson wants video cameras so that her students can make creative videos in Spanish. Mr. Wolkenfeld is planning to teach his students the science behind Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park. Ms. Lopez wants to encourage storytelling by having her students create posters for Day of the Dead. Mr. Skowronski plans to set the atmosphere by turning his biology classroom into a real scientific laboratory.
At , Ms. Krasnow wants to use technology to stimulate student learning in algebra class. Ms. Ruiz wants to cover the bare, concrete school walls with color. Ms. Agbowo hopes to inspire her students to go to college with The Pact, a based-on-true-events movie about three friends from a poor neighborhood who make a promise to get to college.
Mrs. Stuppi at needs dry wipe boards for her students to use during class. Meanwhile, also at Emerson, Mrs. Shevelson is asking for math equipment to help students grasp numbers.
Ms. Jones at is asking for a new document camera.
Ms. Iglehart at wants an interactive classroom rug for her students to sit on.
Ms. Sperske at hopes to teach her students financial literacy.
For a full list of school projects seeking funding in Berkeley, visit the Donors Choose website.