Donors Choose Fundraising Update 2

First, an update from Ms. Stone, the teacher who requested funding for Chromebooks:

I am so excited to receive the Chromebooks and distribute them to students and families! As explained earlier, this project was posted in June, when teachers were unsure what learning model we would be using. Since announcing distance learning late in the summer, the district has been providing devices to students. However, after spending these first few weeks with my third graders, I’m finding that many of them have unreliable devices (issues with cameras, microphones, keyboards, etc.). One prime example: a mother reached out to say her daughter’s device stopped working. The student was unable to sign in for learning for two days since Mom works full-time and was unable to make it to the school to pick up a new one. Having these new, reliable devices will be key in having students consistently engaged in learning.

I’ve also noticed some Donors have been generously giving gift cards to our class even after the Chromebook project was funded. This is WONDERFUL! It means I will be able to create a new project to meet even more of our students’ needs, such as good headphones, learning games, and interactive learning platforms.

Again, I am incredibly grateful for your role in guiding your readers toward DonorsChoose projects. It is so meaningful to me as a teacher right now to have community support. It makes a true difference in our students lives!

And now some additional fundraisers I’d like to point people to:

Mini-Engineering Labs for students at Lucy Laney doing distance learning.

A book-return system for the North High school library, so that books can circulate during distance learning.

Sets of contemporary novels, including Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Talents, for 11th and 12th graders at Como Park High School in St. Paul.

I do not have a Patreon, but take a lot of pleasure from seeing these projects fund. Thank you to everyone who has donated!

DonorsChoose Fundraising Update

In the comments of my last post, JB posted:

Quick question on the fundraiser. Thanks for highlighting it. I’m a bit confused, because as a parent of a MPS child who’s in distance learning 2nd grade this year, we had the choice of a district supplied iPad OR Chromebook. Why isn’t this MPS school having the same option? It is a district wide policy? I looked on the link you have, and it doesn’t really explain it. My tax dollars are already supporting this, as far as I can tell.

I e-mailed the teacher and here’s what I found out. Yes: the school district is providing laptops. When she posted the fundraiser in June, there had been zero communication from the district about what, if anything, was going to be provided for distance learning. By the time the district announced what they were doing, she’d gotten some contributions and thus didn’t want to just take the whole fundraiser down. Unfortunately, there’s no way to revise a Donors Choose fundraiser after launch. At this point, she’s hoping that it does NOT fund — because (assuming people who donated agree to send the money as a gift card for the classroom) she will be able to use that money for other key distance-learning needs, like headphones and supplies and books that she can send to the kids’ homes. She is absolutely over the moon at the generosity and has a lot of ideas on how she can enhance the learning of these third-grade students but would, in fact, prefer not to spend it on laptops (although she noted that if a corporate donor swoops in and donates the last of the money, as sometimes happens, they’ll be new computers, nice ones, something her students rarely get to experience, and I am going to hazard a guess that the school will not have surplus technology for very long.)

But for now:

I’m going to ask people to, if they have donated to Ms. Stone’s fundraiser, to send the money back to her classroom as a gift card if it does not fund.

But, if they have not donated to that fundraiser and would like to make a different donation that would please me very much, I have found a number of other Minneapolis and St. Paul public school classrooms that could use a hand with supplies and technology for distance learning.

(Update: all of these have funded! I’ve found some additional Donors Choose fundraisers to point people at, and you can find them here.)

Ms. Anglin, a math teacher at Washington Technology Magnet School in St. Paul, would like to provide her students with noise-cancelling headphones. 96% of the students at Washington Tech receive free or reduced-price lunch, and 70% are English-language learners. https://www.donorschoose.org/project/investment-for-distance-learning-success/5040842/

Mr. Andy, an autism teacher at Sullivan Elementary in South Minneapolis, would like to provide his students with task boxes, to decrease the amount of required screen time during distance learning. https://www.donorschoose.org/project/especially-distance-learning-task-boxes/5170363/

There are a number of teachers at the Barak and Michelle Obama Elementary School who are looking for help with supplies for at-home learning.

Mrs. Harper would like linking math cubes and also white boards for students to write answers on: https://www.donorschoose.org/project/all-hands-on-deck/5158760/ and https://www.donorschoose.org/project/help-me-respond-write-away/5185420/

Ms. Holden would like graphic novels and a webcam for her third-grade students: https://www.donorschoose.org/project/distance-learning-for-all/5169000/

Ms. Proeschelt would like write-and-wipe alphabet cards and alphabet floor puzzles to build reading skills in her pre-K students: https://www.donorschoose.org/project/abc-puzzles-for-everyone/5185232/ annd https://www.donorschoose.org/project/we-can-write-our-letters/5185174/

Finally, I just want to share the e-mail I got via my website from Ms. Stone about a day after I first shared her project:

Wow. You posted a link via your blog and our DonorsChoose project has raised at least $1,500 in one day. Thank you, thank you from our hearts. The support of the community is what students, families, and teachers really need right now. I’m not currently on social media myself, so every share is meaningful.

Please know that even if our lofty $ goal is not fully met, every dollar will raised will still be put towards the basic educational needs of our students. We will already be able to provide so much with what has been raised! I can’t wait to send Thank You photos (or screenshots, future being unknown!).

With Gratitude,

Ms. Stone

Thank you to everyone for your support of these projects — it means a lot to me, but it means even more to the teachers and the students they teach.