ALEXANDRIA, Va. — For public school educators, shelling out hundreds of dollars of their own money is a long-standing back-to-class ritual.
According to a recent survey, 94% of teachers spend their own money to stock their classrooms with the necessary supplies and resources. On average, a teacher will shell out about $479, although 7% spent more than $1,000, according to the survey.
As children in our community head back to class, many teachers have needs their schools just can’t cover.
So WUSA9’s Impact team partnered with DonorsChoose to grant Little Wishes and help teachers like Ms. Christensen at George Mason Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia.
WUSA9's Lesli Foster and Impact Team worked with the principal at George Mason Elementary School in Alexandria, Va. to surprise Ms. Christensen and fulfill her DonorsChoose.org's Build a Better Library project.
“It's been a long year and a half getting kids back into the school this fall. Are you ready? Are you excited? How are you feeling?" Foster said.
“Yes, we are absolutely ready. And we are excited. And we can't wait to see all of our students together, again. And stick with having you know, their hugs and high fives that just light up our world," Principal Dr. Williams Oliver said.
“I'm so excited for the year to start. Excellent. All right, what do you need at the end? They're the best part of the job. They're why I do this,” said Ms. Christensen.
Principal Dr. Williams Oliver said the minute anyone walks into Ms. Christensen's room they immediately see her love for learning and reading.
Ms. Christensen told Foster reading opens up many doors and the more books her students have access to the more excited they get about reading and the only way you get better at reading is by getting books.
We asked why so many teachers open up their own pocketbooks to buy supplies their students need.
“When you're passionate you will do whatever it takes to see, to see things through,” Principal Oliver said.
Ms. Christensen said she chooses books that will add diversity to her little classroom library and make it more representative of her students.
So, WUSA9 surprised her by fully funding her DonorsChoose.org project.
"We have so many books. Oh, my goodness. This is so exciting. I see so many opportunities to talk about so many things," Ms. Christensen said when surprised by the donation. "For them to learn from me, to learn for them, to see themselves in these books. This is true. This is a true story or correct. I'm so so thankful and grateful. I'm even more excited to start school back now. This is so meaningful to me and I'll never forget it.”
Want to help teachers? Here's how it works:
- Teachers in our area use the DonorsChoose website to create projects in need of donations. Find a project that inspires you, and donate as little as $1. DonorsChoose is a public charity, so donations are tax-deductible.
- Once a project is fully funded, DonorsChoose purchases all the requested items and ships them directly to the teacher.
- Every donor gets a "thank you" from the teacher, photos of the project in action, and a report of how each dollar was spent.
Teachers in our area are asking for everything from mathematics and reading materials to new classroom carpet and Amazon Fire tablets for students.
DonorsChoose has been helping teachers in need for 20 years. The site was launched in 2000 by a history teacher in Bronx, New York. Since then, the site has grown to help teachers and students get the tools they need to succeed.
According to the DonorsChoose.org website, projects have helped raise $1,123,416,196 to support teachers in 84,469 schools across the country.