Students win when donors assist Del Rio School
In one Del Rio School classroom, second-grade students are focused on iPads practicing math skills while seated on a new colorful area rug. In another, a new Chromebook is set up and ready to go in a learning center. A first-grade classroom has a group of students wearing headphones who are spellbound by books they just received at a new CD listening center. A group of third-graders have become engineers as they work together to build a bridge using a new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Learning Kit.
In this time of limited budgets has Del Rio School won the lottery to acquire interactive learning materials? In a way, yes! Del Rio students win when their teachers have special projects funded through DonorsChoose.org and adoptaclassroom.org.
These are websites where public school teachers can post classroom projects requests. Donors from all over the country are able to select the projects and classrooms they would like to support. Crowd funding websites have created an enormous opportunity to connect people who want to make a difference with classrooms all over the country in need. According to the DonorsChoose.org website, more than two million supporters have funded close to 700,000 projects, reaching over 17 million students. At Del Rio School, 229 different donors from all over the country have donated almost $21,000 for 37 teacher-created projects so far.
Projects funded at Del Rio School are varied. They include iPads, Chromebooks, Kindles, interactive science kits, updated listening centers, an egg incubator to hatch chickens, and even funds to get a hamster as a class pet. All teacher projects at Del Rio are designed to increase student learning through interesting and engaging activities for students of all levels.
Both crowd funding websites are user-friendly for donors to select an innovative project and donate as little as $1. Donors can search for a specific teacher, school, ZIP code or search by subjects of personal interest such as math, science, literacy and more. Some funding for Del Rio projects has come from family and friend connections. Other donations are from strangers, some local and others from all over the country. Adopt a Classroom has major corporate and celebrity sponsors who often issue matching fund challenges to further help classrooms and students.
One Del Rio teacher said, “DonorsChoose is amazing! The technology and other donations have been phenomenal to help my students be 100 percent engaged in their learning.” One of her donors is an Arizona paleontologist she hasn’t met yet who not only funded a Rock Detective Kit, but is also interested to visit the classroom with dinosaur bones later this year. This is one of many ways students win when donors choose Del Rio School! Another classroom sent thank you notes to the person who adopted them!
Of note, DonorsChoose.org and adoptaclasroom.org are public charities so donations are tax-deductible, but are not considered Arizona tax credit donations.
Susan Clark is principal of Del Rio School.