I’ve talked about the U in Build like a Pirate is for Unity. Something I have experienced the last couple years is how classrooms, both teachers and students can come together to help one another through Donors Choose. In 2000, Charles Best, a teacher at a Bronx public high school, wanted his students to read Little House on the Prairie. As he was making photocopies of the one book he could procure, Charles thought about all the money he and his colleagues were spending on books, art supplies, and other materials. And he figured there were people out there who’d want to help — if they could see where their money was going. Charles sketched out a website where teachers could post classroom project requests, and donors could choose the ones they wanted to support. His colleagues posted the first 11 requests. Then it spread. Today, we’re open to every public school in America. My previous school did not use Donors Choose due to ownership and financial policies, but have not opened that up. My current one has received many of their items, especially for technology through Donors Choose from iPad minis to Chromebooks.
Being in Illinois and facing budget cuts do to the State Budget Impasse, many schools are looking at Donors Choose to help each other bring learning to their students. While some classrooms want to bring new opportunities to their teachers. Something that has been great about Donors Choose or Adopt a Classroom is how much people can come together for a common cause and then what is shared from those classrooms and schools who are funded. I had three that I supported in the last two years that helped me with my coding training and why two teachers and I are trying to Bring STEAM to our Art room with Sphero and Drones. Even though we are not looking so good, but something that is amazing when some Donors Chooses don’t reach their goal is how others connect as a result. I know of 15 classrooms and teachers I would not have known if not for Donors Choose and the lessons and projects we have shared since getting to know each other has been amazing. Something that is very powerful about Unity is that you don’t have to be limited to your school or even town. You can reach out to others and find common goals and dreams and in the end make them happen.