Saturday, January 17, 2009

Can YOU Help One School Transform a City?

The Answer is YES!

Will you help me change the trajectory of a child's life?

If you're not familiar with my school, I'll give you the ten second overview. YES Prep is a charter school system that exists to provide a free college preparatory education to Houston's most under-served neighborhoods. We believe that a zip code should not determine educational opportunity and that every child can and will learn. We guarantee that students who graduate from our high school will be accepted to a four-year college or university, so we have a 100% college matriculation rate. The average rate in HISD is around 51%. By 2020, YES will send THREE TIMES more low income students to college than ALL of the Houston Independent School District. Our high school has been named one of the top 100 high schools in America by Newsweek three years in a row, so people are starting to notice what we're doing!

However, with our successes come challenges. We receive very little funding per student from the state and no funding for facilities. Though we have enough to get by, we have a very small budget for supplies and instructional materials such as books. For example, our English department has enough to purchase only one book per child per year. If we need more books beyond that, they are purchased by the teacher or the students.

Each year, I explore ways to get more books and resources. As the leader of my classroom, it's my responsibility to advocate for the things my students need. In order to have a thriving reading and writing workshop, we need enough books and supplies to keep kids engaged and challenged year-round. One book does not quite cut it. In fact, my students have made a goal that we will each read 50 books this year.

Last year, I decided to try a website I heard about called "Donors Choose" that matches teachers in need of supplies with donors who are interested in helping kids learn. I had a fantastic experience with Donors Choose last year, so I decided to post more projects with them this year. I currently have three project proposals posted on Donors Choose. Each of my three proposals are for books.

I'm wondering... do you know anyone who would be interested in our mission of changing the face of education in Houston? If so, I would be so very grateful if you would pass along this message or the links to my projects below. Donors can donate any amount of money to projects. Projects are usually not funded in full by one donor, so small donations are appreciated as much as large ones. Each and every donor will be personally thanked by the kids in my classroom. Donors will receive letters and pictures of their dollars in action. A donation to Donors Choose is tax deductible and all transactions are handled directly by Donors Choose.

I hope you'll check out a few of my projects and pass them on to anyone else who might be interested. Thanks for all you do to support me and my kids!

Please peruse my three proposals by clicking on the linked titles below:

Books of Hope : Later this year, we're partnering with an organization called "Books of Hope" to create picture books that will be sent to orphans in Uganda.

Hot!Hot!Hot!: My kids need hot new award winning titles!

It's a Tween, Tween World : We'd love some new "tween" books for ages 10-12 to add to our classroom library.


1 comment:

Liz said...


I have some books at my parents' house that I know my mom has been trying to get rid of, but I will never let her throw them out.... I'm SURE some of them would be great for your group. Next time I'm in Dallas (may not be until Easter), I would love to go through them and get some to you?! I don't know if it will help for this year, but could be something to build on for next year.

You're awesome!

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