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Schools Volunteer

Can you help level the playing field for neighborhood students?

I was a teacher in the neighborhood for almost 10 years. A lot of the experience was a like a job, for sure, but it was essentially a calling. To be effective in a classroom up here, you really have to want to be there, you know? I have the utmost respect and admiration for the folks in the classrooms quietly doing the good work every day.

In every school, there are teachers who give an incredible amount of their own time and money to their classroom, above and beyond. There are also times when you see an amazing opportunity, when you recognize what tool or experience would be great for your students, but sadly know that the resources are just not available.

To help level the playing field, teachers are turning to online crowdfunding sources such as GoFundMe and Donors Choose. One of these teachers is Dan Case, a first grade teacher at George Mason Elementary, who has posted his own direct appeal to get more technology in his classroom:

I have served George Mason Elementary School for 5 years. Over 60% of my students last school year started the year below grade level for reading. I was able to narrow this percentage over the course of the year but there is much work left to be do. I had three students who increased their reading score by THREE levels. I want to achieve that success with more students.

I believe that my students deserve the best educational experience we can provide. You can help me move the needle more significantly by supporting this gofundme campaign. Your support will help me purchase a SMARTboard and mobile stand to help my students achieve excellence. I would be able to use this board throughout each school day to improve behaviors, increase learning and provide exciting brain breaks for my students.

Can you help Mr.Case make this happen?


DonorsChoose is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need, organized by city, district, and school:

Here’s how it works: Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on our site, and you can give any amount to the project that most inspires you.

When a project reaches its funding goal, we ship the materials to the school. You’ll get photos of the project taking place, a letter from the teacher, and insight into how every dollar was spent. Give over $50 and you’ll also receive hand-written thank-yous from the students.

There are a number of projects in our area, many which are only a few hundred dollars short of success:

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neighbor 10/19/2015 at 2:04 PM

Library cards are free. So where are the parents on reading to their own children? Students don’t need a “SMARTboard and mobile stand” in order for “students [to] achieve excellence” or learn to read.

Further, education and childhood development takes a triad of participation. The teacher, regardless of the technology brought into the classroom, will not “improve behaviors [or] increase learning” with out the dedication of the parents and the student.

Lastly, if the students are behind three grade levels, I would think that they have had all the “exciting brain breaks” they need and it’s time to get to work.

Alex 10/19/2015 at 11:09 PM

I’m generally in favor of this concept and we’ve donated several times to RPS projects. That said, SMARTboards are dumb and overpriced chalk boards. We have some at my company and they break quickly and don’t do anything you couldn’t do at a fraction of the price. Spend the money on something that would really make an impact.

Tiffany 10/20/2015 at 7:25 AM

The fact that you took time from you day to spew hate at the teacher, student, and family when you clearly do not know anyones full story shows how lowly you are as a person. Not everyone can experience the privileges, experiences or high moral standards that you have; which have clearly led you here. Nor can anyone improve the state of things here without at least trying to make a positove difference. So, please just keep it real- you are no neighbor to anyone here. And you can take that attitude back to whichever hole you slide out of, as it helps no one.

Matt Hillian 10/20/2015 at 10:00 AM

I can understand those who feel a bit jaded after observing way too much wasteful spending on “good ideas” that are inefficiently used. Sure, technology doesn’t fix the challenges these students and teachers face. But, when you have a teacher who has taken the time to describe in detail how this technology will be used in his classroom and has crafted a fundraising campaign to solicit funds, I expect you’ll find that this technology solution has a far reaching impact.

If you compare the schools in the east end with those in more financially stable regions of the city, you’ll find that the PTA provides many of the requests that our east end teachers seek through these GoFundMe campaigns.

Sharon Larkins-Pederson 10/21/2015 at 2:25 PM

I do wish that when people feel compelled to make rude and/or nasty comments they would fully identify themselves.


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