“This funding has helped us tremendously,” Eden principal Laurie Funderburg said.
Teachers Amy Clardy and Kelly Hicks were among 12 area educators in St. Clair and Talladega counties who raised more than $7,400 to fund classroom projects through DonorsChoose.org.
DonorsChoose.org is a nonprofit website founded in 2000 where public school teachers describe specific educational projects for their students, and donors can choose which projects they want to support. Almost 160,000 public and charter school teachers have used the site to secure funding for $71 million in books, art supplies, technology and other resources that have supported 3.9 million students.
“We are trying to get the word out there to teachers and the community,” said Tom Moore, an agent for Horace Mann, the largest national multiline insurance company focusing on educators’ financial needs.
Moore said Horace Mann contributed $600,000 to school projects nationwide through DonorsChoose.org in 2011, including helping fund the projects at Eden Elementary.
Hicks received classroom project funding to purchase math centers her second-grade students can use individually and in teams.
“We were able to get three board games, a place value center, money center and telling time activity,” she said.
Hicks said she received $200-$400 in funding.
“It was my first project using DonorsChoose.org,” she said. “It was a really easy process. Horace Mann funded half, and GAP funded the other half.”
Clardy’s first-grade class received separate project funding of $350-$400 for a laptop, about $150 for a flip camera and about $250 for an electric pencil sharpener.
“I also wrote a grant for a laser printer in the computer lab that cost about $250,” she said. “With technology resources extremely low, anything we get technology-wise has to come through a grant. This funding has helped tremendously.”
Clardy said we live in a technological world, so it is important to have the students experience that technology.
“A lot of them don’t have it at home,” she said. “When they do the same thing each day, it is boring. You bring in new things and they are excited about learning. And they get to experience things that are out in the world today.”
Funderburg said the school used to receive $500 per teacher per year funding as well as technology and library enhancement funding.
“Due to proration, we lost all of that,” she said. “Our funding last year per teacher was zero dollars from the state. This year, we received $134.78 per teacher.”
Funderburg said Mann has also given students incentives for attendance.
“If a student has perfect attendance for the semester, their name goes in a drawing for a bicycle,” she said.
Funderburg said the drawings are held both semesters, with one boy’s bike and one girl’s bike being given away each semester.
Moore said the PASS program, or Perfect Attendance Spells Success, is also taking place at five other schools in St. Clair County.
“I want to thank anyone who does anything to help our students,” Funderburg said.
For more information, visit DonorsChoose.org.
Contact Elsie Hodnett at email@example.com.