I forget where I first heard of Adopt-a- Classroom, but the premise was very familiar:
Teachers spend a lot of their own money for stuff needed in the classroom. School budgets are tight, parents can’t always afford supplies and teachers want the best for their students.
So teachers can go on this website and make a request for resources. Donors can search for a particular school or teacher to support, or browse the database for a classroom that sparks their interests. Once a donation is made for a particular classroom, the program hooks up the teacher with its partners to spend the money as effectively as possible.
So. There are lots of schools in Chicago that could use some help. I found a teacher that wanted to buy some books for a classroom library to encourage her bilingual second graders to read. It is not news that most low income students lack books at home, and we all know that starting early is good. I liked this project for three reasons:
2. The teacher could use my donation right away, as opposed to waiting for other donors to fully fund a project
3. Duh. Books. Reading.
Also, my nephew Alex is in second grade. So I made my donation. I received an acknowledgement right away. A couple of weeks later, I received a letter from the teacher:
“Thank you so much for adopting my classroom. Your generosity is greatly appreciated. My students will be thrilled to know that someone is thinking of them and cares enough to donate money so that we can have more books in our classroom library. My students are incredibly motivated and love diving into new books. They are constantly asking me if I have more books about different topics and I always try to find what they are asking for. I know that they will be more motivated if they are interested in what they are reading. My students are in a bilingual spanish classroom, and are just beginning to read in English. They are grabbing the English books off the shelves and are extremely excited to show me what they are learning as they read those books as well. Thank you again for your donation. I will put it to good use and my students will be so grateful.”
Later that night I received another e-mail. The teacher I sponsored had done her shopping and sent me another note, along with a detailed list of her purchases. By “detailed list” I mean the titles of each book and how much each one cost so that I could see that my entire donation went to the classroom. Scholastic books is one of the partners. I didn’t need that much detail to believe that my dollars were going to a good place, but it was very nice to see.
Charity Navigator gave Adopt-a-Classroom four stars last year. You can find them at adoptaclassroom.org.