Orchard teacher, Steve Schmidt improves students’ math, literacy and critical thinking skills with the help of donations to procure iPads from DonorsChoose.org. Photo: Donna Sullivan-McDonald

Orchard School Receives Donations for iPads

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Thursday April 18, 2013

Steve Schmidt, a teacher at Orchard Elementary School in South Burlington, has raised money to fund Enhancing Critical Thinking Skills Via Technology, a classroom project that provides iPads and educational apps to help students improve literacy, math and critical thinking skills. To raise the money, he posted a request on DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit organization that connects donors with public school teachers who need classroom materials.

“Students are able to practice autonomously, giving them the power to be successful on their own,” Schmidt said. “While these students are working, it frees my teacher time to be able to work with others in areas of need or concern. These apps are also great for students who have mastered the content extremely quickly and need to be challenged, so that they continue to learn and grow at a rate that keeps them engaged and loving learning.” 

Schmidt is one of 14 Burlington area public school teachers who have received donations totaling more than $11,265 to fund 23 classroom projects through the program in the past 12 months. In Vermont, 38 public school teachers have funded 69 classroom projects with donations totaling $32,215. The teachers gained the donations by posting classroom projects needing funding on the DonorsChoose.org web site. Stephen Sands, a Burlington based Horace Mann agent contributed to the project and has been telling teachers he meets while working in local schools about it.   Nationwide, Horace Mann Educators Corp. has contributed $1.5 million to school projects through the program.  Full-time public school teachers, nurses and guidance counselors can participate. 

Founded in 2000, DonorsChoose.org is a nonprofit website where public school teachers describe specific educational projects for their students, and donors can choose the projects they want to support. To date, 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 more than 5 million students.

SOURCE: Donors Choose