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Getting wishlist items for their classrooms isn’t a matter anymore of asking the principal, now that there is crowdfunding for teachers who request donations for specific materials and supplies for students.

Soft SkillsDonorsChoose.org is a crowdfunding website for teachers, who turn to donors to donate money for items that administrators cannot or will not purchase.

Over a dozen teachers at six Southeast Texas school districts ran campaigns on the site recently, for technology such as iPads to basic supplies and books.

“My students are in need of books and materials for an effective reading center! My current classroom library is lacking in books for grades 3, 4, and 5,” wrote a China Elementary teacher. A Nederland teacher requested iPads for her English Language Learner students.

DonorsChoose launched in 2000.  Teachers submit proposals for review by staff. When projects are approved and funded by donors, employees order supplies and ship them.  The money is never touched by the teacher or the district.

“Each teacher has their own preference as to what they feel like they need,” said Marissa Phillips, who asked for phonics lessons.  She has successfully funded two of the three projects she’s posted. “And so basically, when you walk into a classroom, the things you would necessarily use to teach with may or may not be there, and when that occurs, you have to be creative.”

Some of the support came from her friends but most donations were from people she had never met, from all over the country.

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