Imagine staring into the eyes of 19 children each day who are eager to learn and looking to their teachers for guidance. Picture most of these children as elementary-school aged and imagine what it would be like to know they are in need. Many times, only their teachers know what the students’ needs are, before the children ever even realize their own needs in the classroom.
That is where DonorsChoose.org can step in and make a world of difference for that teacher and her 19 students. The unique website matches donors with educators who are in need of items that go beyond the scope of a classroom budget.
Often, teachers are found scoping shelves at local department stores trying to stock their classrooms with just basic supplies. Other needs require funds that go well beyond the salary of a public schoolteacher.
Four Weakley County teachers have already been on the receiving end of the generosity of not just those they know, but strangers from across the globe as well.
Last week, Martin Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Shannon O’Neal helped demonstrate to local teachers the benefits of utilizing DonorsChoose.org. O’Neal, and three other teachers, were recently able to generate enough funds through the Reading Takes Us Places project through DonorsChoose.org.
“I still have several students who are reading below grade level and what better way to improve this,” O’Neal said.
“My goal is to double the number of books we currently have in our classroom. I would love to fill two double bookcases.”
O’Neal will benefit from the program with classic book series in an effort to increase her students’ comprehension levels. Box Car Children, Nancy Drew, Judy Moody and Junie B. Jones are among the series MES has obtained through Reading Takes Us Places.
The Horace Mann Companies, represented by local agent Angie Miller, helped to fund this project, along with other school projects. Nationwide, Horace Mann has contributed $1.3 million to school projects through DonorsChoose.org since February 2011.
“I am so excited to be a small part in such a larger picture,” Miller said. “Education is so important in everyone’s life, yet it is always taken for granted. Thanks to Shannon for making a difference in the lives of children.”
Through the Reading Takes Us Places project, more than $2,600 was raised for teachers in Weakley County schools.
Since O’Neal’s demonstration last week about how DonorsChoose.org works, other teachers have enlisted help for needed classroom donations.
A Sharon first-grade teacher has set up A Marked Difference program for donations to purchase dry-erase markers.
“A marked improvement, that is what I see since using dry-erase markers on individual whiteboards in my first-grade classroom. Dry erase markers are expensive and get used up fast. We use these markers in almost every lesson as a means of active participation. The children enjoy them,” the teacher noted. The estimated cost to keep a steady supply of dry-erase markers on hand for that classroom is $176.
Another teacher at Sharon School is looking to provide a technological edge for the underpriveledged students in her classroom.
The class receives a 45-minute computer lab lesson once a week. With a tablet in the classroom, the teacher said tablets would be beneficial for high achievers who finish work early to help increase their knowledge of technology. Tablets would also benefit struggling students through online learning programs and educational games.
The project, Taking Technology to the Top with Tablets, is estimated to cost $395.
A kindergarten teacher at Greenfield School is looking to preserve lasting memories for her young students and their parents.
“Everything my students create in kindergarten is special to them and to their family. My project is important to my students because they will be able to save special projects that they have worked so hard on. We often save a memory from the first day of school or a special achievement that a student has mastered,” the teacher noted.
The classroom has a laminator and is need of laminating pouches to continue to preserve memories. Her project, Help Us with Our Laminator,” is estimated to cost $147.
An elementary schoolteacher at Martin Elementary School is looking to reduce her students’ carbon footprints with the use of a Luna Interactive Projection Camera. Students are already encouraged to recycle in the classroom. With the projection camera, the teacher estimates a significant reduction of paper in the classroom.
Not only would it reduce paper usage, the projection camera displays live action, making each classroom activity come to life for the entire class to enjoy. The camera connects to the Promethean Board in the classroom. The estimated cost of the project is $229.
Storage is a must for any classroom. The more students in the class, the more need for storage. With 23 students, a teacher at Martin Elementary School is hoping to provide 30 storage seat sacks for her students. The seat sacks would allow each student to store their own school supplies within hand’s reach under their seat.
Reducing the amount of classroom disruptions is the goal of the MES teacher, who is also in need of a heavy-duty dependable pencil sharpener.
“Students will be able to maximize their school day without wasting much instructional and class time. It affords each student the opportunity to work on organization skills and to become clutter free,” the teacher noted. The estimated cost is $450.
Through DonorsChoose.org, donors wanting to make a financial contribution to any of these projects can search Projects, Tennessee, Weakley County Schools, and help fill a need in local classrooms. There are numerous projects online from across the globe and donors span all seven continents.
Thus far, more than $607,000 have been raised through DonorsChoose.org for nearly 620 Tennessee classrooms.