By Teri Carnicelli
It’s been a tough few years for teachers around the Valley who have faced ongoing financial cuts that have trickled down from the state to the school districts to their own classrooms.
They continue to be challenged to find ways to educate their students while meeting today’s higher standards. For high school teachers, it’s an even greater challenge as the funding simply isn’t there to provide the necessary tools to do the best job they can for their students.
Which is why five educators at Sunnyslope High School have turned to DonorsChoose.org, which seeks financial help from the public for specific projects.
April McNary, who teaches English 3-4 at Sunnyslope High, is herself a Viking. She graduated in 2002, and received a B.A. in Education with an emphasis in English in 2008 from Arizona State University.
McNary’s project, “All is Fair in Love and Nonfiction Texts,” hopes to raise a little more than $2,500 to purchase a variety of media for the 150 students she works with. She has until Nov. 5 to raise the funds.
“With a push toward common core, there is a need for more access to nonfiction texts,” she explains. “I thought bringing in various magazines each month would give my students access to timely issues they may not otherwise have access to. These materials would be available for any student to read during our designated free reading time.”
The magazines that are in her classroom now are more than five years old and have seen better days. She also hopes to provide a class novel, an updated class grammar book, and other tools to strengthen her students’ reading skills and awareness.
“I think the Kelly Roach novels would be fantastic book circle books where students can have enlightening conversations about science,” she adds. “All of these materials would be used to engage students in higher levels of thinking, writing, speaking and reading.
“By donating to this project, you are giving these students the opportunity to see beyond my classroom walls in a fun an exciting way. My hope is to engage all my students in some way. I want to nurture the scientists and writers alike.”
McNary isn’t the only faculty member from SHS looking for some financial assistance to help out their students. Math teacher Nicholas Vieron, who teaches in all four grades, needs $399 to purchase spiral notebooks for approximately 170 students this year. The notebooks are needed for his students to take classroom notes in. His deadline is Nov. 29.
Kelsea Threadgill in the Performing Arts department needs 10 portable wireless speakers, at a cost of about $394, in order to do group choreography projects. It’s an elective, so the approximately 180 dancers are from all grade levels. Throughout the year, students are asked to participate in choreographed dance routines for a grade, as well as the dance show. Her deadline also is Nov. 29.
Tennis coach Kristin Moore is seeking a little over $700 to purchase 40-ounce insulated stainless steel water bottles to keep her athletes hydrated during practice and games. Her deadline is Nov. 13.
Patricia Jimenez in the Media Center needs littleBits Deluxe and Premium kits to explore electronics without needing to wire or solder and prepare them to begin programming. The project, which costs $2,354, will reach 500 students in all four grades. By adding littleBits modular electronics, students will have the opportunity to problem solve as they create established STEM-based projects as well as realize their own designs. The deadline for funding this project is Dec. 19.
For more information, visit www.DonorsChoose.org, and type in Sunnyslope High in the search box.