BROOKLYN – Teachers all across the borough have taken it upon themselves to provide their students with the supplies necessary for a proper education, highlighting the many needs schools in less affluent zones have.
Pages upon pages on DonorsChoose.org (a nonprofit organization that allows people to donate directly to public school classroom projects) are filled with the requests of each teacher.
A middle school teacher, Mr. Oberlin, at IS. 285 Meyer Levin, is trying to raise $1,218 by December. The money will go to provide students with new instruments for their music class. The school does have instruments, but there are very few.
“My students love playing their instruments, but unfortunately with the small number we have, it is not possible for them to take their instruments home in order to practice, and asking them to rent an overpriced horn from a music store is simply out of the question,” Oberlin wrote. He has so far raised $875 from ten donors.
PS. 371k Lillian L Rashkis in Sunset Park has a majority of students from low-income households, which is why Ms. Jayne is raising money to provide her students with snacks.
“My students need assorted snacks to have at school, or to bring home at night, or on long weekends because they are heavily reliant on the meals provided by school!” she wrote on her page. Her page also states that each student in her classroom is emotionally disturbed, many of them come from unstable houses, and some of them were even incarcerated at some point.
“Everyday, roughly 36 students enter my English and Mathematics classrooms, eager to learn, but also distracted by hunger, which often limits their academic growth on a daily basis,” she wrote. “Everyday on a regular basis, my students come in hungry, without any means for getting breakfast. When they do not have access to snacks, they grow angry, and sometimes even embarrassed and often lash out. With these snacks, my students will be able to focus on their classwork for the period, rather than become frustrated waiting for lunch to be served.”
She hopes to raise $512 by December, and as of now, no one has donated.
Ms. B, from PS. 161 The Crown School, is one of the fortunate ones. She had a goal to raise $1367 to purchase, “new bookcases that are not falling apart every time they touch a shelf,” she wrote. And that goal has been reached thanks 19 donors. One of the donors was The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Sometimes different organizations match donations.
PNC Grow Up Great® is a “program dedicated to helping prepare America’s youngest learners for great things in school –- and life.” This program matches donations on projects, such as three different ones in PS. 251 Paerdegat.
Con Edison also matched Ms. Konarski’s project. Konarski is a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) teacher at the Redhook Neighborhood School. She’s raising money to provide her students with wooden building blocks and plastic bins to store them in.
“These blocks will be used primarily by the kindergarteners to bring their STEM creations to life,” she wrote. “They will be tasked with finding solutions to various real-world challenges that are usually presented to them in a read-aloud book. These blocks will be used to build their solutions!”
Teacher’s aren’t just allowed to come up with random amounts of money. In fact, once the project is submitted to DonorsChoose, it is then properly reviewed.
For example, Ms. Apollo from PS.97 The Highlawn School in Gravesend is trying to raise $494 for basic supplies for her students. These supplies include notebooks, glue sticks, pencils, and pencil cases.
“A main component when students are in first grade is to become more organized and gain a sense of responsibility for taking care of their classroom materials,” she wrote. “Providing my students with the same supplies will aide them in becoming more organized and responsible for the classroom supplies as well as being prepared.”
On the bottom of every donation page, each dollar is calculated. In Apollo’s case, all of her material will be purchased from Amazon Business, and will cost exactly $493.87.
DonorsChoose is an organization that aims to help these teachers and many others give the best possible education to their students. It is also supported by many well-known people and celebrities such as the American singer, Adam Lambert, and tv host/comedian, Stephen Colbert.
And right now, many Brooklyn teachers are in need. To help support a classroom project in Brooklyn, check out this link here.