By Carrie Dyer
Just in time for the holidays, an anonymous donor who believes deeply in the power of educators joined Best in Class coalition in making wishes come true for kids and teachers on 361 campuses across 19 North Texas cities by flash-funding all teachers’ DonorsChoose.org projects.
The teacher projects total more than $600,000 in value and support North Texas’ highest need schools. In addition, the same donor has provided another $100,000 in challenge grants for other donors to match to jointly help fund new teacher projects submitted after today’s announcement.
“Out-of-pocket expenses that teachers spend on classroom supplies can range between $200 to $2,000 per school year. One recent study found that, on average, teachers are spending nearly 11 percent of their salary toward classroom supplies and instructional materials,” said Dottie Smith, managing director for Best in Class coalition, a North Texas organization dedicated to ensuring that all regional classrooms and schools are led by excellent educators who grow student learning in a way that prepares them for college and career.
“We are so very appreciative for the generosity of these donors and lasting impact of their gift. The projects listed on DonorsChoose.org help fund everything from basic classroom supplies to new technologies that create innovative learning opportunities for children.”
“Teachers are the most uniquely positioned on the frontlines of education to identify opportunities and direct needs to improve the learning environment of their students,” said DonorsChoose.org Founder Charles Best. “With tighter school budgets, wishlist gifts like these allow teachers to make much needed improvements that are critical to enhancing the education experience for students and teachers.”
During the assembly at Winnetka Elementary in North Oak Cliff, organizers of the gift fulfillment revealed a sampling of the funded projects.
Charles Best and Dottie Smith joined Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa to surprise the crowd of about 200 students and teachers with an “Oprah-style” reveal of funded projects ranging from iPad Minis to Portable Desks and Balance Ball Chairs.
In total, 19 North Texas cities’ public independent and charter school districts had their wish lists flash funded, including Addison, Balch Springs, Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Coppell, Dallas, DeSoto, Duncanville, Farmers Branch, Garland, Grand Prairie, Greenville, Irving, Lancaster, Mesquite, Richardson, Rowlett, Sachse, and Seagoville.
The Best in Class coalition ensures all classrooms and schools are led by excellent educators who grow student learning in a way that prepares them for college and career. With teachers being the #1 in-school factor that influences student achievement and principals being close behind, Best in Class focuses on educator effectiveness, specifically how to attract, prepare, develop and retain the very best educators. Best in Class was started and continues to be powered by the Communities Foundation of Texas and The Commit Partnership, two leading local organizations committed to equity through education. The Coalition works alongside 50 different educational organizations, including local school districts, educator prep programs, non-profit organizations, funders and civic leaders who are joining forces to find ways to make North Texas the premier place to start and grow a career as an educator. For more information, visit bestinclass.org.