Collaboration with Parent Organizations to Fund Technology
One of the big questions I get is, “how have you funded all your devices?” To be honest, it has not been easy. I have scoured over the internet and dug through other technology sites looking for grants that would match what my plans are in my classroom. In the end, I found very little that helped me, so I decided to find a way to enact change at the local school level to fund technology dreams for myself and my colleagues.
Our Parent Teacher Committee (PTC) is a very active group of parents who are 100% committed to the success of our school. Their fundraisers throughout the year have been a game changer for the students of my school. Their efforts and hard work have sent hundreds of kids on field trips that would otherwise not exist. They have funded the purchasing of new computers in our library lab. I can’t state how much these people care, and how much they turn that feeling into action.
Last year, after visiting Canby School District and seeing how they are handling technology, I was inspired to try something similar at the local school level. You see, Canby offers technology grant applications for teachers to propose the use of technology within their classroom. A very bottom-up approach. Teachers dream up ideas, and submit these ideas and a plan of how they will track the learning impact of the students who will be using the technology.
I took this idea to my school’s Site Council and discussed the possibilities of creating a Grant Process for teachers in our school to apply for. Documents with the application and frequently asked questions were created, and I presented this new concept to the staff.
Teachers were asked to come to the site council meeting and explain their project, and how they would be measuring students learning with their technology grant request. Teachers began to collaborate with one another, looking into ways they could use different applications and devices with their students. There was a buzz in the air about these tech grants.
Representatives from the PTC are also a part of the school’s site council, and they were excited to see the money that they work so hard to fund-raise being put to use in classrooms directly. I think it motivated them to get additional fund-raising plans in motion without becoming overdone with parents. For instance, we have been having a Box Tops for Education collection for the past three months. This is not another “cookie dough” fund raiser, it’s just a gently reminder to cut box tops and bring them in when they can. The numbers from the Box Tops have been phenomenal this year.
The PTC have bought into this Innovative Technology Grant process so much, that they have set aside a part of their yearly budget just for these grant ideas.
Coming next month, teachers will present their findings from the grants that were funded earlier this year. Five different projects were funded to some degree, and to complete the process, teachers will present their findings at a site council meeting.
A few weeks later, teachers will get the chance to write their Spring grant proposals (thank you Box Tops!) which they will get to put to use next Fall!
I can’t wait to see the presentations for the past projects, and the new ones for the upcoming school year. I’ll keep you posted how they go!