Local classroom dreams come true
More than 28,000 public school teachers across the country who requested project funding through the nonprofit website DonorsChoose.org found out all of their requests were granted.
"It's amazing," O'Malley Elementary first-grade teacher Bree Dolph said. "A friend of mine posted on Facebook that this company I had never heard of just funded my project-- along with everyone else's. I'm thinking to myself, 'no way, that would have to be millions of dollars.'"
The company is Ripple, an up-and-coming digital currency company, donated $29 million to fund every classroom project request on the DonorsChoose.org website. The donation fulfilled 35,647 requests from 28,210 public school teachers across the country. Teachers will receive books, school supplies, technology, field trips and other resources vital for learning.
"It just totally shocked me," Taku third-grade teacher Jessica Thomas said. "I couldn't even talk for a few minutes."
The funding will help Thomas provide more flexible seating in her classroom.
"The ball chairs we've got coming in aren't going to roll away on our floors," Thomas said. "We'll be able to keep the kids more stationary yet give them enough room to wiggle around and have that movement. Giving third graders the chance to move around is really important."
In Bree Dolph's first grade class at O'Malley Elementary, her students will be able to use dictionaries together.
"I have 21 kids and only 16 dictionaries," Dolph said. "It's hard to say turn to page 12 and look for the word apple because we have five or six different editions of the dictionary. For some kids, it was on page 12 and others it was page 23. To be honest, it was just a disaster. I was like-- that was terrible. So, I sat down and said, 'what do I need to make this more successful for the next time?'"
Dolph decided she needed 25 new-- a class set-- of student dictionaries fully-illustrated for her first graders to use.
"I also got seven or eight books that come with a CD so that they can listen to the book and then do the response to it which ties into our new reading curriculum."
"I think using dictionary's is almost a lost art," Dolph said. "I think it's an important skill with the internet these days and kids just typing in what they want to find."
Dolph's request came in at around $1000. Thomas' request from Taku Elementary tallied nearly $800.
"It's really nice that the kids can actually have something that is new," Thomas said. "Something bought just for them. Especially here, our students are from very low economic standards and they don't get a lot of new things. When I told them what happened, they were clapping and cheering. They are super excited."
The DonorsChoose.org website works something like a GoFundMe account. Teachers make a request for items they want on the website, and parents, staff and businesses around the country donate money to the funds.
Some companies will even match donations. The website works with various companies, and teachers shop for what they need. Once the fund meets its required monetary amount, the teacher will accept and the website ships the items to the school. For more information on DonorsChoose.org, click on the links provided. For more on Ripple click here.
The Ripple team's donation provides the ultimate culmination of #BestSchoolDay, a campaign launched in March 2016 when 58 athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists funded classroom requests in cities and states covering just under half of the country. For a limited time, as teachers generate new classroom project requests on the site, DonorsChoose.org will offer donors the option of giving to the #BestSchoolDay Fund, which will be used to support projects from teachers creating their first requests on the site. DonorsChoose.org estimates that teachers will submit at least another 135,000 classroom project requests between now and the start of the next school year.
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