One teacher's idea turns into a movement

March 18, 2009 7:54:57 PM PDT
With schools facing massive budget cuts, teachers are going online to request funding for specific projects.

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Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito has a singing program but the fourth graders lack instruments.

"We really don't have the opportunity for them to play instruments themselves," teacher Michelle Morris said.

The few they have are old. Morris is asking for $397 to purchase new recorders. She is counting on DonorsChoose.org, a Web site where teachers post their projects and visitors can decide which projects to help fund.

"It's good to do things that some kids don't get to do," student Robert Davis said.

DonorsChoose.org has come a long way. It began eight years ago at a school in the Bronx in New York when one teacher came up with an idea to help his colleagues

"My mom made dessert for my colleagues and I put the dessert in the teacher's lunch room and I said, 'OK, whoever eats this dessert has to go to this newly created Web site and ask for whatever it is you most want for your students,'" founder Charles Best said.

Word of the Web site quickly spread around the Bronx and then the country. Today, 90,000 teachers nationwide have posted their project requests, helping 1.8 million students.

"Thanks to some Silicon Valley leaders coming together to provide some really generous funding for DonorsChoose.org we are open now to every public school in America," Best said.

Music is also helping the Willow Creek Academy students understand science.

"Sound travels through molecules in the air, solids, liquid," student Carrie Clark said.

Hopefully they will also learn how generous people in the Bay Area can be.

Related Link:
DonorsChoose.org

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