Since my email is connected to many of our company’s social media pages I sometimes receive “retweets” or “look who posted” notification messages from our pages when content matches our company’s interests. This morning there was one from Twitter titled “DonorsChoose retweeted a photo from Augie Ray…”
I was familiar with DonorsChoose (visit their site at http://donorschoose.org), but had never been to their website where “teachers ask” for assistance and “you choose” a project to assist. On their website today projects were listed in these categories: Art, Books, Community, Field Trips, Hurricane Sandy Relief, Math, and Science. Visitors may search under these categories or may use a search box using more specific keywords to search for a project that may interest them. So, why write about DonorsChoose in today’s blog?
Although the impact is evident in the numbers above including the over $166 million donated, the real reason for writing about DonorsChoose today is to remind us that indeed great things can be achieved through one person’s commitment to education, to students, to teachers. Consider the story of Charles Best (quote available here):
Charles Best, a history teacher at a Bronx high school, is spending his own money on school supplies. So are his colleagues. He sketches out a website where teachers can post classroom project requests–and where anyone with $5 can be a philanthropist. His colleagues post 10 projects, but Charles doesn’t know many donors, so he anonymously funds those projects himself. His colleagues think that the website actually works, and rumor spreads.
Although Mr. Best’s story is unique in launching the DonorsChoose.org website, his story is not unique in that there are many teachers and educational leaders anonymously funding projects and supplies in their own classrooms and in their own schools.
Sure, as I’ve shared with DonorsChoose, donating money is important and many students benefit. However, do not underestimate the difference you can make as a donor of your time. In an early December 2012 blog I challenged readers to “invest in your community” and asked them to reflect on what they have contributed to education in their respective communities (read blog here). Consider Gerald Boone a member of the Escambia County School Board in Escambia County, Florida.
“Mr. Boone is a veteran teacher of the Escambia County School District. He taught Mathematics and Spanish classes at Escambia High School during his thirty-five year career, before retiring in 2005. Mr. Boone was elected to the School Board of Escambia County, Florida in November 2006 and re-elected to serve a second term in August 2010” (see website). His grown children are products of the school district. He is a mentor with Take Stock in Children and the Youth Motivator Program. He also mentors a student at Global Learning Academy, a student at Montclair Elementary School, and a student at West Florida High School, all schools within the district.
Whether you donate money or donate time or are able to donate both, simply, make a commitment to donate to education—to students, to teachers, and to educational leaders. In closing I am reminded of the signs sometimes held up at major sporting events, “cost of a ticket x, cost of travel y, seeing my first post-season game priceless.” Wouldn’t it be cool to see similar signs popping up in everyone’s front yard, “cost of my favorite children’s book $10, time spent reading with 5 second graders 1 hour per week, seeing student vocabulary build priceless.”
Donors Choose photos and video from http://www.donorschoose.org/about/impact.html.
Mr. Gerald Boone is a member of the Escambia County School Board in Florida. You can view the district website here.
Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. To do this we work with school boards, leaders, and teachers to apply Evidence-Based continuous improvement processes and the principles from How to Lead Teachers to Become Great in their districts to get the best student learning results and create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.