Big Names in Silicon Valley Back New Classroom Idea

Watsonville school counts on donations

Monday, Nov 10, 2008  |  Updated 2:39 PM PDT
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Big Names in Silicon Valley Back New Classroom Idea

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Web Site Helps Schools Request Donations

Teachers have always been creative about getting supplies to their classrooms, and now many of them have turned to the Internet for help.

A nonprofit Web site, backed by the founders of some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley and venture capitalists, is making it easier to fund those extras for students.

Teachers all over the country are actively soliciting donations through a Web site called Donorschoose.org.

Radcliff Elementary  School  teachers in Watsonville turned to the site after the state made cuts to the education budget in an attempt to trim the state's deficit.

"When we heard about the opportunity, they just jumped on it," said Radcliff Elementary Principal Ulli Kummelow. "Everyone was writing proposals, and we've gotten at least six teachers that have had some of their projects funded."

Teachers fill out online profiles to request materials from pencils and erasers to books and crayons.

"It's a great way to let the community know what's happening with us and what we want to do with our kids," said Radcliff teacher Vicki Hallof. "So that our kids are able to reach those achievement gaps and fill those gaps in."

Founders of eBay and Yahoo are just some of the venture capitalists behind Donorschoose.org.

Radcliff Elementary special education teacher Amy Eggleston said that teachers spend a lot out of their pockets to provide the basics for their students, so the online support eases the burden.

"They've really learned a lot since they've been with me," Eggleston said. "I think that materials, like we've been requesting, will continue to support their academic growth."

Donorschoose.org has raised $25 million to support 1.5 million students in all 50 states. It has funded 60,000 projects to date.


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