Teacher delivers more than online instruction

A student poses after receiving a care package from his teacher.

When Caroline Adam opened her inbox earlier this spring, she wasn’t surprised to see an email from Donors Choose. The Albany School of Humanities second-grade teacher had used the online fundraising platform to buy items for her classroom several times over the years. 

But this email was different - it notified Adams that she had been chosen to apply for a $1000 Keep Kids Learning grant to buy supplies that would support distance learning.

“I assume it was because I've had several successful Donors Choose projects, but I don't know for sure,” explains Adam.

Adam answered a few basic questions and a couple weeks later was notified that she was picked to receive $1000 in Wal-Mart gift cards. 

The first items on Adam’s list were books, to keep her students entertained and learning while the building was closed. If you’re familiar with elementary aged readers then you’re familiar with Dogman, My Weird School, Elephant and Piggie.

“Those were the kids’ favorite books from my classroom,” recalls Adam. “Also, with the libraries closed, it is difficult for students to get new books.”

The 21 care packages, with items Adam purchased (from a pre-approved list provided by Donors Choose), put together and delivered herself the first week of May also included: pencils, pens, sticky notes, rulers, crayons, dry erase markers, makeshift white boards and Chapstick. 

“A lot of students are not able to go out and buy a second set of school supplies to have at home for distance learning  and all their current supplies are still at school.”

Thanks to the grant, Adam was able to recreate a classroom environment to assist with and make home learning easier. 

“I wanted to be sure to give the kids items that would help them with their Google Classroom work - like solving math problems - and allow them to practice other skills, such as writing and reading.”      

The Chapstick - which may seem out of place - is actually just one more reminder that Adam cares for and is thinking about her students, even though they’re apart. She keeps a  tube of Vaseline and Q-Tips available for the chapped lips that inevitably come with the winter months.

“I wanted to make sure they had something to help at home.”

According to the Donors Choose website, more than 5000 teachers across the country have been connected to funding thanks to the Keep Kids Learning grants, which have been funded by more than 10,000 individuals and corporate and foundation partners.