This Holiday Season, we’re matching DonorsChoose.org contributions up to $25,000 beginning on December 9. Specifically, we’ll match projects in Oakland schools designated as high poverty and totaling $825 or less. We invite you to give to these projects to help students in Oakland receive the high-quality educational resources they deserve. Click here for a full list of projects that you can support.
As part of our efforts, we are featuring two projects each day that you can support. Today’s featured projects are:
Ms. Portugal’s students at Life Academy would use $348 to buy headphones to make radio stories, listen to podcasts, and engage with audio books. These audio projects would support diverse learning styles and allow all learners to receive information in the way that suits them best.
“As students transition to high school they are asked to read to learn information not just read for pleasure and the gap in reading skills widens. Therefore, it is important to help reluctant readers stay involved with books and not lose their love of reading as the tasks get more challenging.”
Ms. Bazaei could use $652 to purchase mindfulness tools like yoga mats, yoga blocks, a singing bowl, and a salt lamp to help her students to cope with trauma, self-advocate, and empower each other.
“In a school like mine, which serves a low-income, minority population, teaching wellness sends a message to students that they matter, in a world where a lot of forces are already making them feel like they don’t.”
Mr. Zellman would use $679 for headsets with microphones, HDMI cables, and locks in his newcomer English Language Development classes, where students are learning to speak, read, and write in English. Many of these students are special needs or have recently arrived in the United States.
“With headsets that include a microphone, students can read text and have it transcribed into documents on their chromebook! This connection between speaking and reading is a vital step in their language development.”
Previously featured projects:
Ms. Rojas could use $495 to buy Fairytale STEM kit materials that will provide her students in grades PreK to 2 at Franklin Elementary with exceptional opportunities for investigation and higher level thinking skills in the classroom.
“These STEM kits will give life to literacy, science and math in our classroom… I cannot wait to see how they use these materials to become real thinkers, problem solvers, and analytical scholars.”
Mr. Wright’s students at Bret Harte Middle School could benefit from $458 for materials to make mosaics, as a way of understanding history and craftsmanship for their medieval Islam unit.
“Students will be creating small mosaics and paintings that represent their lives and their beliefs…Many of my students do not get a chance to connect with and create something enduring. I believe that pushing craftsmanship via hard work is one of the most important experiences students can have.”
Ms. Baugher, a teacher at Garfield Elementary, needs $711 for a social justice book club that meets after school once a week to address themes of race, gender, and ability. She hopes to expose her students to books that teach children to combat bigotry and discrimination and feature protagonists of color.
“In order for our children to grow into compassionate global citizens, we must discuss important and uncomfortable topics rather than avoiding them.”
Mrs. Ellison’s classroom at Hoover Elementary needs $424 for storage sacks that will reduce the amount of clutter on her students’ desks, allowing them to focus on their classwork and build their academic skills.
“We are piloting a personalized blending model where students are learning where they are at independently. With this model, we have new movable furniture that allows the students to work by themselves, in a partnership or a small group.”
Mrs. Kasai’s classroom at Skyline Senior High needs $722 for a set of wireless speakers to engage her motivated, eager students with presentations and music. Her current speakers have travelled with her through three school districts and after much use, they make a crackling noise when she attempts to share audio with her class.
“Students will finally have the opportunity to hear everything that is being shared without the frustration of plug-in speakers not working.”
This effort is part of GO Oakland’s efforts to support educators in Oakland. In addition to this work, GO Oakland engages educators through its Teacher Policy Fellowship, a year-long opportunity for a diverse cohort of Oakland teachers to lead, learn, and think about about solutions that we can use in Oakland classrooms to improve education. GO’s 2015-16 and 2016-17 Teacher Policy Fellows have developed their own leadership and examined the issues of new teacher support and career pathways as ways to increase teacher retention and, ultimately, student outcomes.