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Back to School: By the Numbers

Every student deserves a back-to-school season filled with the support they need to thrive. Here’s how our teachers and community are making it happen this year.


At DonorsChoose, we love that back-to-school feeling. That “new locker to decorate, freshly sharpened pencil, whole year of endless possibilities ahead of you” kind of feeling.

We also know that it’s teachers who are the ones working hard to make that feeling happen every year. That’s why rallying support for our educators’ back-to-school projects is always important to us around here. This year, that support came through in a big way: Over 112,100 teachers received support this year!

By the Classroom

Thanks to $43M from 218,779 individual donors and 205 corporate and foundation partners, the amazing teachers on our site had exactly 108,833 classroom projects fully funded during back-to-school — ranging from calculators to band instruments to library books. Here’s just three of those thousands of classrooms — with words of thanks from the teachers themselves!

Books and Art Supplies for Mrs. Moskal’s Students

“Thank you so very much for the educational books and art supplies to bring our Great Lessons to life! … This year will be better than ever thanks to your generous donation! This really means the world to me and my students.”— Mrs. Moskal, “The Great Lessons” 

Microscopes for Mr. Vinderland’s Kids

HOT DIGGITY DOG! Thank you for fully funding our prepared microscope slide project on DonorsChoose! Your contribution will further understanding and comprehension in my science classroom — and microscopes are just dang cool to use. My students can't wait to use the materials you've helped to provide! We all appreciate you!” — Mr. Vinderland, “Everyone Loves Microscopes!” 

Flexible Seating for Mrs. Schryver’s Class

“Thank you so much for helping to fund my project. My students were so thrilled to hear the news when the email arrived this morning. They are so excited to have a new table to sit at each day. I can barely wait to see their faces when it arrives ready for them. They will be over the moon with excitement.” — Mrs. Schryver, “Kindergarten Table”

By The Numbers

Of course, behind every heartwarming note of gratitude is also real, tangible impact. Don’t just take our word for it either, the numbers from this back-to-school season speak for themselves:  

  • $43M: Total funds from 218,779 total donors for back-to-school projects 
  • $524,390: The back-to-school daily average for donations raised on our site
  • July 28: Our Biggest posting day so far with 7,192 total projects submitted by teachers who need items for their classrooms
  • $62: The average donation given by individual donors during back-to-school season — it adds up so fast!

By Our Partner Power

In addition to the 218,779 supporters from our online donor community who showed up at this time, we also were honored to connect with 205 partners who gave generous match gifts and beyond for back-to-school, including: 

  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who teamed up with our generous community of donors to support nearly 25,000 teachers at over 16,000 schools across the country in one incredible day.
  • SONIC provided a 1.5X match for every single project across the country, up to $1M.
  • Allsup Family Charitable Foundation launched a match for all STEM projects in New Mexico, with tripled donations for STEM projects in rural communities.
  • 3M fully funded all STEM projects in St. Paul, followed by a 5X match and $200 first donation to STEM projects across St. Paul, North St. Paul, and Maplewood, Minnesota.
  • Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation matched all donations to Equity Focus Schools in Georgetown County, South Carolina.
  • Panda Cares doubled donations to every classroom furniture project for an amazing day of funding, creating countless wonderful learning environments with teachers.

That’s just to name a few big moments, too! Our entire all-star lineup of partners below gave critical funds for local schools and teachers across the country, and we seriously can’t thank them enough!


Alaska Department of Education & Early Development

Allstate Foundation 

Allsup Family Charitable Foundation

Alpine School District Foundation 

Altice USA


Antioch Schools Education Foundation

Audrey Hillman Fisher Foundation 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

BJ’s Charitable Foundation 


Calmenson Foundation

Carter's OshKosh B'gosh

Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies

Charles Schwab


The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation

College Football Playoff Foundation

Colorado Department of Education

Dial Soap

DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation

Edmond Public Schools Foundation

Education Foundation of Sarasota County

Ferrero U.S.A., Inc.  

Fiesta Bowl Charities

Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation 

Gates Ventures

General Motors Corporation

Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation

H-E-B Read 3

Home Run Inn 

Horace Mann 

Horace Mann Foundation

Impetus Foundation

INK! (Investing in Kids)

Johnson Ohana Foundation

Mission Tiger



Lakeshore Learning


The Montgomery Family Fund

National Corn Growers Association 

 The State of Oklahoma

OKCPS Foundation

Olathe Public Schools Foundation

Panda Cares

Perry and Donna Golkin Family Foundation

Peterson Family 


Riot Games 

San Antonio ISD Foundation


State Farm Insurance

Subaru Hawai'i

Thea Foundation

Tracy Family Foundation

United Airlines

VanTrust Real Estate

Wawa Inc

….and a few anonymous partners too!

By The Possibilities Ahead: 

More teachers hear about DonorsChoose every single day. And — as teachers get to know their students this year — they are continuing to request the perfect materials to help kids learn and grow. Right now…

  • This back-to-school season 71,363 new DonorsChoose teachers joined DonorsChoose
  • Right now, 3,584 total new teacher projects are submitted every day on average

Pretty tremendous, right? Every student deserves to enter a classroom that has what they need to succeed. And with the support of our amazing teachers and DonorsChoose community behind them, that’s exactly what they’ll have this year.

Want to make this back-to-school season the very best for a classroom in your community? Find teacher projects in your area today.  (If you’re a teacher, you can learn more here.)

8 Ways Teachers Are Celebrating Latino/a Joy & Achievement in the Classroom

Check out the creative ways teachers are celebrating the Latino heritage and culture throughout the school year.


Capturing the moment

In her project, I’m Proud of My Work, Let’s Take a Selfie!, Mrs. Combs has found a fresh new use for a standard classroom item: the printer.

“My students will be able to use the Canon Selphy printer to be able to document photos of the work they are most proud of…I will then be able to see that the student is proud of their work and take a picture of them holding up their work. I will have a specific place in our classroom to display their selfies.”

Encouraging students to celebrate themselves – and each other – can be as easy as hitting ‘print’.

Teaching each other

In her project, Proud of Our Origin, Ms. Lopez del Rio’s little learners get to teach each other about their heritage through play.

“Latino culture has a wide variety of board games that can be used in the classroom to enhance the value of Hispanic culture and the Spanish language. What better way to encourage cultural exchange and mutual respect than by playing games. Children of Latin origin will be able to teach their classmates Spanish vocabulary, traditions of their countries of origin, rules of these games, etc.

Empowering students to be the teacher, especially in a fun and engaging way, is an opportunity for students to feel proud of their Spanish language and heritage.

Sparking joy

Ms. LaBrant is celebrating her students by investing in the things that excite them. Her school book club is just starting its 3rd year, but has grown from just 6 students in its first year to 20+ students today. Her project, Perfect Book for Not Perfect Book Club, acknowledges her students’ passion for reading alongside the complexity and richness of their heritage.

“Our high school majority is low income and Spanish speaking, but our book club continues to grow. Please help me to encourage these students by providing them with a book they can keep.  This semester we will dive into "I am not your perfect Mexican daughter" by Erika Sanchez. This is a great story about discovering your heritage and embracing who you truly are. It will hit our students on several levels as a young adult novel, as a story about someone like them split between 2 cultures and as an intriguing mystery.”

Whether it’s books, robots, ceramics, or cooking supplies, going all in on students’ interests will exponentially increase classroom joy. 

Honoring Heroes

Mr. De La Cruz Rosales wanted to prepare his middle-schoolers for their informative writing unit project: A Just America Wax Museum. His project, Wax Museum Research PBL, provided them with representational reading resources that 

“My students, primarily, Latino, Filipino, and Black will feel validated and their experiences will be reflected in the works that have been selected for our classroom library. Representation is key and seeing main characters that have similar viewpoints characteristics and shared experiences will engage and motivate them to engage with literature.

A library of books that reflect students’ lived experiences can help foster a sense of pride and joy in students’ Latino heritage.

Finding the beauty

Teachers across the country are discovering cultural celebrations outside of the classroom.

Ms. Portugal took her Oakland students to a local production of “In the Heights”:

“One young lady, Nacia, said she could watch the play on repeat and at one point was brought to tears.”

Mrs. Jones took her students to the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago:

“I continued to hear priceless feedback from the students like, ‘I can relate to so much here!’”

Whether it’s an in-person field trip, a virtual excursion, or tapping into the education resources of theaters and museums, Latino/a artists and creators provide an endless source of inspiration.

Showing up authentically

Ms. McGroarty’s project, Make A Spanish Speaker Out Of You

“I am very privileged that I get to teach Spanish classes to my amazing middle school students. Spanish was my first language so teaching my students how to speak, read, and write Spanish is very important to me. For me to complete this task correctly, I need access to specific materials to hand out to my students to provide success.”

Students of all ages and identities benefit from diversity in the classroom. When teachers feel supported in bringing their expertise and authentic selves to their teaching practice, everyone is better for it.

Leveling Up

Ms. Stewart’s students are outstanding Latino kids in the heart of Chicago. Through her project, 5th Graders Can Be Published Authors!, she’s investing in her students’ work by helping them feel professional and accomplished.

“Each year, my students create books for several different units of study…For every book they publish I struggle to come up with a great way to bind their work in a nice way. We have tried everything from pipe cleaners to rings to staples but none of that will look as nice as having them actually bound in this professional looking manner!

My 5th graders will be so proud of their books with the use of these materials! We showcase their books at our bi-annual parent teacher conferences where the kids present the things they are most proud of to their parents.”

Lamination and binding supplies are a low-cost way to help students feel immeasurably valued.

Throwing a Fiesta!

Honor Hispanic and Latino/a Heritage Month like Dr. Puicon did with her project, Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Books, decorations, t-shirts, and posters created a grade level-wide celebration of all of the wonderful diversity within the larger Hispanic community.

“These supplies will ensure we close out the month in a celebratory fashion, and the remaining supplies will allow us to continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage throughout the academic year. Thank you for your contributions and for supporting the students this year.”

And like Dr. Puicon, Latino/a joy and achievement in the classroom can – and should – be celebrated all school year long.

“My experience fuels my mission”: Latino Teachers reflect on their unique classroom contributions

Don’t miss the vital perspectives of these standout Latino teachers.


Latino/a teachers are walking a tightrope: Their voices are needed more than ever, but many are battling lifelong feelings of being on the outside, compounded by the current political landscape. Many Latino teachers report experiencing a duality on a daily basis. For example, there is stress about hostility toward immigrant communities and elimination of diverse curriculums and there is joy in cultural celebrations and representative reading materials.

We asked dozens of Latino teachers about their perspectives, pressures, and moments of joy in the classroom. While their answers and experiences are strikingly different, a clear theme emerges: Latino students — and all of their peers — benefit from the life experiences, bilingualism, cultural understanding, empathy, and passion of their Latino teachers.

What unique perspectives does your heritage give you as a teacher?

I can relate to my students and their families. I know what it's like to not speak English and having to figure out what the teacher is saying. I understand the feeling of not having help at home with homework. I can sympathize with parents that want to help their children with homework but the language barrier prevents them. That's why I use social media to upload examples in Spanish in order to help parents with homework.” - Cynthia, 2nd grade teacher, Texas

“I am very proud to be a Latinx educator who gets to work so closely with Latinx students. It has brought me the greatest joy to honor my culture and my people by continuing to better our community by teaching the next generation. We are a community of intelligent, capable, and talented leaders who are already making their mark on the world.” - Amanda, English language program teacher, Illinois

“For me, being a Latinx child in a very white community brought some tough learning experiences, prejudice, and a whole lot of feeling like an outsider. That experience has fueled my mission to make my readers all feel like a part of our library, all students should feel a part of the book world.” - Katie, Elementary school librarian

“Being a Latina teacher allows me to see the importance of representation in the classroom. Students need to see teachers who share their culture and traditions. Students need teachers who are able to communicate with their parents and embrace them as well.” - Maria, 5th grade teacher, Illinois

How has your experience as a Latino teacher changed in the last few years?

“Honestly, it's been heartbreaking to see some of the outright hostility towards my Latinx community. In particular for my students to feel so unsafe and unwelcomed in a country that for many is home. I've worked harder to make sure our library is a safe place in the chaos.” - Katie, Elementary school librarian

“Because the social and political climate has become more agitated, I am more proud of my culture but I am also careful not to broadcast my beliefs so loudly as I do not want to get pressured to change my book selection policies.” - Lupe, Elementary school librarian, Texas

I have felt stressed by the movements around the country toward eliminating inclusive curriculum. This has made me more dedicated to making sure my students feel that their culture and heritage is valued.” - Jennifer, 4th grade teacher, California

“I have to be much more aware of what are the things I educate my students in —especially regarding pride in their identities, how to continue to be strong and go forward in the face of adversity, as well as to know that their potential is limitless regardless of what others may say or do.” - Maria, 5th grade teacher, Massachusetts

“In the last few years, my experience as a Latinx teacher has been filled with positive, humbling, and validating experiences that have strengthened my bond to my identity and culture. In my school and classroom, we are constantly looking for ways to honor and embrace our culture through academic content, celebrations and traditions, and building relationships with one another.” - Amanda, English language program teacher, Illinois

“In recent years, I've observed a resurgence of challenges related to the acceptance of immigrants, primarily towards people of my heritage, including discrimination from descendants of the same background. Despite these challenges, I remain committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for my students. My personal experiences have reinforced the importance of empathy, cultural sensitivity, and understanding in my teaching approach.” - Carlos, High School technology teacher, Texas

“When I first started teaching 33 years ago, there were not many Hispanic/Latinx teachers and I felt like a rarity. I am happy to say that there are many of us now and we are passionate about our teaching like we are passionate about many things.” - Rita, Kindergarten teacher, California

What do your students gain from celebrating Hispanic & Latinx heritage (and joy and culture) all year round?

For my Latinx students, seeing their culture represented allows them to feel a part of our school world. For non-Latinx students, our activities and reading broadens their world, helping them build not only understanding but empathy for those that are different from them. Many students also find connections to their own cultures which again builds that empathy!” - Katie, Elementary school librarian

All students are excited and motivated when our classwork is centered around something that is reflecting their heritage and culture, including reading books by Latino authors. Listening to stories about Latino characters is always a fun and engaging time in my classroom.” - Rita, PreK–2nd grade teacher, Texas

“I enjoy sharing how many Hispanic and Latinx individuals have been ‘successful’ in the world. Many students see movie stars and sports players as being successful. It is great to show how others are successful, and they do not need to be famous. It’s great to highlight those who have reached that success and let them know they will do it as well.” - Kathy, 3rd grade teacher, California

“Any moment where we overcome labels and stereotypes for the betterment of ourselves is meaningful. Whether it's winning an Esports tournament or celebrating high school graduation, these instances exemplify the unity and inclusivity we strive to foster in our classroom. These moments of shared accomplishment transcend cultural boundaries and demonstrate the strength of diversity in our learning environment.” - Carlos, High school technology teacher, Texas

“Reminding my beautiful 8th graders that their heritage matters, is important, and we are not going anywhere but up!” - Mary (Mari), 8th grade teacher

“By celebrating Hispanic and Latinx Heritage all year round, our students gain the confidence and pride to embrace their culture and their identity. These celebrations of our culture also help us strengthen our sense of 'we' as they allow us to build a strong sense of community within our school as well as the greater community in which our school belongs.” - Amanda, English language program teacher, Illinois

“Rather than merely celebrating, our heritage is an integral part of who we are. We honor our traditions, such as enjoying dishes like posole, marking significant milestones like quinceañeras, and appreciating our rich musical heritage from classics like "Cielito Lindo" to modern tunes like "Ella Baila Sola." By embracing our culture continuously, we cultivate self-acceptance and pride. This acceptance of ourselves extends to acceptance of the diversity within our community, fostering a sense of unity and respect among my students.” - Carlos, High School technology teacher, Texas

“They become more tolerant of other cultures and people who do not look like them! I teach second grade, and I have noticed that kids at this age (between kindergarten and second grade really) don't pay attention to color or skin tone difference, they just know that they love playing with so-and-so or working in a group with so-and-so. Helping children understand that people are different and it's cool to be so will make them a more worldly, cultured, sophisticated, and tolerant adult when they grow up!” - Kerry, 2nd grade teacher, Virginia

Is there a student that really benefited from celebration of their heritage? How did it help them?

“I remember a student who saw a book cover featuring a child with her skin color. She ran to the book, hugged it, and said, "Mama, look! It looks like me!" She has since investigated more books in the library and is a joyful reader now.” - Lupe, Elementary School librarian, Texas

“One year, I had a student who was Hispanic and had darker skin. Her mom had shared it had become a very big issue at home. I was able to get culturally relevant books through DonorsChoose. This not only helped her, but it provided an assortment of books for her to have at home to work through her feelings. Appreciating our different shades of brown brought us closer together.” - Gloria, 1st grade teacher, Texas

“With a particular reading unit we do using the book "Yes, We Are Latinos/ Si Somos Latinos" students have shown a great deal of interest in the learning from that book as well as the histories of their countries. Students glowed with pride sharing stories and many learned new things about their countries of origin. It even sparked conversations at home that were positive and educational.” - Maria, 5th Grade, Massachusetts

Want to hear more from Latino teachers in 2023? Check out Lessons from the Frontlines: 4 Things You Need to Know about Latino Educators.

Lessons from the Frontlines: 4 Things You Need to Know about Latino Educators

One quarter of public school students are Latino, but only 8% of public school teachers are Latino. Explore insights and trends from 67,000 Latino educators.

Education Leaders

Latino educators are a vital part of America’s teacher workforce with unique insights and contributions to share. Understanding those perspectives — along with the specific challenges Latino teachers face — is the first step to better supporting and uplifting these teachers.

Latino students thrive when they see their identities reflected in their educators, and students of all backgrounds benefit from having Latino educators. Even though Latino students make up 25% of all US students and are the largest demographic of students of color, only 8% of public school school teachers are Latino. By recruiting and retaining Latino educators, we can help overcome America’s teacher shortage while increasing diversity in our teacher workforce.

67,000 Latino educators spoke to us through surveys and project data

DonorsChoose makes it easy for public school teachers to request resources for students, giving us singular insights into the exact books, science experiments, and art supplies teachers need for their students. Because we focus support on teachers and students of color, we have one of the largest communities of teachers of color in the country. Latino teachers make up 13% of our active teacher users.

To learn from these teachers’ experiences, we looked at results from our survey of 5,000 DonorsChoose teachers and 23 years of resource request data from the more than 67,000 Latino teachers who’ve shared their demographic information with us.

1. Latino teachers are the most likely of all teachers to see education as social justice work

In our survey, Latino teachers were the demographic most likely to say they started teaching because they see teaching as social justice work. Not only that: Nearly half of all Latino teachers said they entered the profession because they wanted to teach a curriculum that affirms the identities of students of color.

One look at the most popular books among Latino educators, and this passion for social justice and representation was clear.

2. Latino educators expect to stay in the profession longer than teachers of other identities

In that same survey, 66% of male Latino educators and 62% of female Latina educators said they planned to still be teaching in 10+ years. But even with this dedication and longevity, Latino educators are underrepresented, meaning more efforts need to be made to recruit new Latino educators to the field.

We reached out to Latino educators in our community and asked them to share how their identities affect their experience as a teacher. Latino teachers’ passion for affirming their students’ identities again appeared as a common reason behind their dedication.

“I am very proud to be a Latinx educator who gets to work so closely with Latinx students. It has brought me the greatest joy to honor my culture and my people by continuing to better our community by teaching the next generation.“ —Ms. Calzada, Chicago, IL

“In recent years, I've observed a resurgence of challenges related to the acceptance of immigrants, primarily towards people of my heritage, including discrimination from descendants of the same background. Despite these challenges, I remain committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for my students.” —Mr. G, Mission, TX

3. Latino teachers shoulder additional responsibilities because of their identity

Latino teachers reported that they’re often expected to serve as liaisons for families of color, including, for example, serving as translators for Spanish-speaking parents. These responsibilities are often unacknowledged and almost always unpaid, and can contribute to burnout and attrition. 

This “invisible tax” is experienced by all groups of teachers of color, though it may manifest differently. In our survey, we saw that in schools where racial tensions run high, teachers of color are much more likely to shoulder additional expectations. 

4. Classroom basics, educational kits & games, and art supplies are what most Latino teachers need

Research indicates that funding teacher-requested resources through platforms like DonorsChoose can support teacher retention despite the low-cost of such requests, and that learning from a diverse group of teachers benefits all students. By enabling teacher innovation, improving classroom conditions, and showing teachers that we trust their professional expertise, we can make sure Latino educators and their students have the resources they need to thrive and grow.

Listening to teachers informs the way we talk about racial equity. Learn why we use 'Latino' in reference to teacher and student identities.

Celebrate Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month With A Funded Project

Bring even more joy to your classroom with these easy-to-follow tips and templates for boosting your DonorsChoose project during Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month!


📣 Breaking News: On September 20, donations to projects supporting Latino teachers and students will be doubled (while funds last)! 📣

Joy, history, celebration. All year, we see amazing teachers on our site creating space for their students to know — and take pride in — Latino culture and identity. For Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month, we wanted to help give those classroom projects the boost they deserve, including yours. 

Here are 3 easy-to-follow ways for you to spread the word about your DonorsChoose project (or a project of someone you know) all month long. Pick the sharing option that works best for you!

Option A: I’m a Social Media Sharer

Pick your favorite graphics from our collection and share at least twice on social media before the end of Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month (September 15 through October 15). You can mix & match your favorite platforms (i.e. 1 Facebook post + 1 TikTok), do a morning and evening post on the same platform, or post and re-share your own content (Insta feed + Insta story!). Wherever you tweet, post, snap, or share, make sure you include a link to your project.

Feeling extra excited about these graphics? You can create your own custom graphic using the Canva templates below:

Download one of these customizable templates to use on social media

Option B: I’m a Teacher Who Texts (or Emails)

Option B is for those mobile-friendly educators out there. Here’s the plan: Customize, copy, and paste the text below (with your project link!) into a group text chat with 3-5 friends — or in an email to at least 3-5 people. 

Wherever you send it — your starred group chat, that DM thread with your funniest friends, your family email chain — just remember to be yourself, so they know it’s coming personal from their favorite teacher (you!).

Want to celebrate [Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month] with me and my students? I want to give my students [books by Latino/a authors, crayons with diverse skin tones, wiggle chairs] and I’d be so grateful if you would make a small donation to my DonorsChoose project or share the project link with others: [your project link]. Thank you a million times from me and my [28 little Einsteins-in-training]!

Option C: I’m Here for All of the Above (and Beyond!) 

Let’s call option “C” the ultimate option. This is a way to let friends, family and your wider network know about your project in a big way. Complete these three steps together to give your project the momentum it needs:

  1. Send a personalized email to one person who cares about you and your classroom, asking them if they would like to celebrate Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month by supporting your project. Include your project link!
  2. Post your project on your favorite social media platform and Include your project link!
  3. Send one group email or text to folks you know, asking them to help you spread the word about your project while there are doubled donations. Include your project link! 

Not sure who to reach out to? Get some ideas here!

Whichever approach you choose, remember your community at home (and our DonorsChoose community here!) want to see you and your students thrive. So go ahead and share your project up along with a heartfelt message or note of thanks — and your classroom will be celebrating in no time.

Pssst! Don’t forget: On September 20, donations to projects supporting Latino teachers and students will be doubled so be sure to re-share your project on that day!

15 Must-Read Books That Celebrate Hispanic and Latino Voices

These book titles are our teachers’ most requested books that celebrate Hispanic and Latino heritage and voices.


These book titles are among our teachers favorites in 2023 that celebrate Hispanic and Latino heritage and voices.

"In order to be citizens of the world, it is vital to understand that students need to learn about themselves as well as about others who are different from them." —Ms. Mendez, Senior High teacher, IL

Every student deserves to see their stories and histories reflected in the books they read. These must-read titles celebrate Hispanic and Latino heritage and voices and are popular among DonorsChoose teachers and students alike! Add these to your classroom collection (and your personal library!), and you’ll have great reads all year round.

Elementary Books

Paletero Man, by Lucky Diaz

Cover of Paletero Man, by Lucky Diaz

Written by Latin Grammy-winning musician Lucky Diaz (and inspired by Lucky Band’s popular song), Paletero Man follows our narrator through his community in search of the ice pop truck. Young readers will encounter Spanish words and phrases throughout the book as they cheer on our young paleta-seeker and all of his sweet, generous neighbors.

This story is also available in a bilingual edition Paletero Man/Que Paletero tan Cool! with the English and Spanish text side by side on each page.

Key themes: Kindness, generosity, community

Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln, by Margarita Engle

The cover of Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln, by Margarita Engle

Child prodigy, Teresa Carreño, achieved a once in a lifetime opportunity when her love for music was discovered by Abraham Lincoln. Based on a true story, Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln tells how young Teresa rose to fame after her family migrated from Venezuela.

This inspiring story follows Teresa as she helped her family define their American Dream and overcome new challenges, all while doing what she loved most: playing the piano.

Key themes: The connecting power of music, family, migration, biography

Alma and How She Got Her Name, by Juana Martinez-Neal

The cover of Alma and How She Got Her Name, by Juana Martinez-Neal

This Randolph Caldecott Selection explores the sentimental meanings behind our names. Alma, whose full name is Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela, is embarrassed by her long name and decides to ask her father about it. Yet, when her father explains the various people her name honors, Alma recognizes the beautiful significance of her long name.

Full of warmth, this book helps kids realize that their unique attributes make them special and should be celebrated.

Key themes: Identity, family heritage, diversity

Where Are You From, by Yamile Saied Méndez

The cover of Where Are You From, by Yamile Saied Méndez

In this picture book, a young girl with brown skin and dark, curly hair consistently faces variations of the same question—where are you from? Looking for answers, she turns to her loving abuelo for help. Abuelo’s response is not what she expects, but what he shares turns out to be even better.

This book is written in the spirit of I Am Enough by Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo. The Spanish version is entitled ¿De Dónde Eres?

Key themes: Self-acceptance, identity, home

Too Many Tamales, by Gary Soto

The cover of Too Many Tamales, by Gary Soto

On Christmas Eve, Maria is in the kitchen helping her family make tamales for dinner. When her mother leaves the kitchen for a moment, Maria tries on her mother’s beautiful diamond ring. Later on, Maria realizes that she cannot find the ring, so she enlists the help of her cousins to eat their way out of trouble. 

This holiday story shows why it's better to tell the truth than to try to cover up a problem. This book is also available in Spanish as ¡Qué montón de tamales!

Key themes: Family, holidays, food, life lessons

My Papi Has a Motorcycle, by Isabel Quintero

The cover of My Papi Has a Motorcycle, by Isabel Quintero

With beautifully illustrated pictures, My Papi Has a Motorcycle celebrates the love between a daughter and her father. Growing up in a predominantly Mexican-immigrant working-class town in California, Daisy sees the people that have shaped her hometown, like the mailman and the corner store owners, as she zooms around on the back of her papi’s motorcycle. While things are changing in her neighborhood, Daisy realizes that some things can never change. 

This moving story will encourage young readers to explore their own culture and ties with their hometown.

Key themes: Father-daughter relationship, culture symbols, love

Mango, Abuela, and Me, by Meg Medina

The cover of Mango, Abuela, and Me, by Meg Medina

Young Mia is ecstatic when she learns her grandmother is moving from her sunny house to live with Mia and her parents in the city. As Mia prepares for her grandmother’s arrival, she thinks of all of the fun activities they will do together but forgets one important thing: her grandmother doesn’t understand English, and Mia doesn’t know Spanish! 

This endearing story tells how a family’s love can surpass language barriers and connect new generations to their ancestral roots.

Key themes: Persistence, family, language barriers

Middle School Books

Esperanza Rising, by Pam Muñoz Ryan

The cover of Esperanza Rising, by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Based on actual events, this historical fiction novel tells the stories of Esperanza and the struggles she and her family go through after the Mexican Revolution. Bandits threatening wealthy landowners, like Esperanza’s family, force her family to seek economic opportunities in the United States. 

As field workers in California, Esperanza tells of their stories and struggles by the fruit and vegetable seasons that have passed. If you are looking for a book that will touch your heart and captivate your senses, Esperanza Rising is the one for you.

Key themes: Class struggles, grief, hope, overcoming obstacles, solidarity

Miss Quinces, by Kat Fajardo

Cover of Miss Quinces

In this semi-autobiographical debut middle-grade graphic novel, Kat Fajardo introduces young readers to Suyapa Gutiérrez (“Sue”), who is begrudgingly spending the summer with relatives in Honduras instead of at sleepaway camp with her friends and reading manga. To make matters worse, Sue’s mom has just announced a surprise quinceañera for Sue, which is just about Sue’s worst nightmare.

This boldly colorful, illustrated volume weaves together family expectations, cultural traditions, and a relatable story about choices, self-expression, and being caught between two cultures at a critical moment of adolescence.

Miss Quinces/Srta. Quinces is the first graphic novel published by Scholastic/Graphix to be simultaneously released in English and Spanish editions.

Key themes: Coming of age, cultural traditions, family, bicultural and bilingual experiences and communities

Efrén Divided, by Ernesto Cisneros

The cover of Efrén Divided, by Ernesto Cisneros

A personal and heart-warming story, Efren Divided guides us through a twelve-year-old’s sudden transition into adulthood. When his family is separated by U.S. immigration policies and faces deportation, Efren’s world is turned upside down. The immediacy of his situation forces him to become an adult overnight and fight to get his family back.

While remaining deeply honest, this fictional book emphasizes the realities for many American families on issues surrounding immigration policies, family, and poverty.

Key themes: Family, migration, coming of age

High School Books

¡Ay, Mija! (A Graphic Novel): My Bilingual Summer in Mexico (¡Ay, Mija!), by Christine Suggs

Cover of ¡Ay, Mija!

Inspired by their own travel as a teenager, Christine Suggs explores their own heritage, their family’s generational differences, and their place in all of it through this graphic novel memoir. 

¡Ay, Mija! Follows young Christine to Mexico as they visit their grandparents and tía where Christine doesn't speak the language and doesn't fit in. As they learn more about their family’s history, Christine begins to understand not just Spanish, but also the powerful, complicated, beautiful discomfort of their mixed identity.

Key themes: Family heritage, mixed identity, bilingualism, generational differences, colonialism

Clap When You Land, by Elizabeth Acevedo

The cover of Clap When You Land, by Elizabeth Acevedo

Sisters Camino and Yahaira Rios are brought together after their father tragically dies on a flight from New York City to the Dominican Republic. As they cope with their father’s loss and mourn his memory, they discover more about his past and the secrets left uncovered. 

With occasional references in Spanish, the reader will be immersed in the Dominican culture and its love and grief.

Key themes: Loss of a parent, grief, forgiveness, hope

The Dreamer, by Pam Muñoz Ryan

The cover of The Dreamer, by Pam Muñoz Ryan

The Dreamer follows the early experiences of Neftali Reyes, a boy who grows into the Nobel Prize winning poet, Pablo Neruda. Reyes is spellbound by the wonders of the natural world but is continuously ridiculed by his authoritarian father. Despite the critiques, Reyes is drawn to an unexplainable calling. 

This novel will keep you on the edge of your seat as you get transported to a world full of magical realism and poetry.

Key themes: Following your dream, hope, imagination

In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez

The cover of In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez, is a work of historical fiction based on the true story of the four Mirabal sisters: Patria, Mariá Teresa, Minerva, and Dedé’s. These four women made history in the late 20th century by fighting for freedom under Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. 

In this powerful narrative, Alvarez places us years back as we read the effects of Trujillo’s dictatorship and the women who bravely fought against it. Through their unwavering courage, we witness their strength in face of deep adversity.

Key themes: Historical dictatorship, family, and courage in the face of danger

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, by Erika L. Sanchez

The cover of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, by Erika L. Sanchez

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter tells the story of a contemporary Mexican American teenager in Chicago who is caught between the cultural expectations of her traditional family and her desire to forge her own path. The story opens with Julia Reyes attending the funeral of her seemingly perfect older sister, who was killed tragically in an accident. As Julia begins to process her grief, she learns that her sister may not have been as perfect as she seemed.

Netflix is developing a movie adaptation of this book and it will be directed by award-winning actor, director and producer America Ferrera.

Key themes: Mental health, first-generation immigrants, grief, growing up


Ready to get these books for your classroom? Create a project on DonorsChoose and let our community help you get the resources you need!

Celebrating 5 Years of Impactful Partnership: DonorsChoose & Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Empower STEM Education

$8.5 million in Samsung tech and classroom supplies delivered to public schools

Education Leaders

DonorsChoose and Samsung Electronics America mark a significant milestone this year as we celebrate our fifth anniversary of collaboration. With a shared commitment to advancing STEM education, the partnership has successfully delivered $8.5 million worth of Samsung technology and classroom supplies to nearly 500 public schools across the U.S. participating in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competitions.

Fostering Innovation in STEM Education

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow is an innovation driver. By way of a national competition, public school students in grades 6-12 to are challenged to develop creative approaches to solving issues in their local communities through science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The program engages students in active, hands-on learning applied to real-world problems — making STEM more tangible and showcasing its value beyond the classroom. By participating in the program, students find their voice and pioneer positive social change.

Each year for the last five years, DonorsChoose has supported Samsung Solve for Tomorrow with white glove fulfillment of millions of dollars’ worth of prize packages won in the annual STEM competition. As Alix Guerrier, CEO of DonorsChoose, highlights, “Our job as an organization and as a broader society is to make teachers' work sustainable, and Solve for Tomorrow provides exactly the kind of support teachers need to broaden student participation in STEM.”

Transforming Classrooms with Technology

Through the Solve for Tomorrow competition, schools have been able to enhance their classrooms with cutting-edge technology. Samsung technology and supplies have allowed schools to establish engineering and design labs, provide access to the latest educational resources, offer coding and robotics programs, and more.

The 2022-2023 Solve for Tomorrow competition showcased exceptional student-led projects tackling community challenges by proposing STEM solutions like low-cost assistive technology for people with mobility challenges, gear that prevents heat-related illnesses in sports, and a noninvasive beehive monitoring system to battle the pollinator collapse. National Winners Brandywine High School (Wilmington, DE), Strawberry Crest High School (Dover, FL), and Porter High School (Porter, TX) received technology prize packages worth $100,000 each.

Bloomington High School South (Bloomington, IN) and Richmond Hill Middle School (Richmond, GA) were honored with additional awards for their innovative approaches to reduce temperatures in urban “heat islands” and to stop night terrors for PTSD sufferers. These recognitions highlight the impactful contributions of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition in driving STEM education forward.

Expanding Reach and Impact

By investing in the next generation of innovators, Samsung and DonorsChoose are laying the foundation for a brighter future. The enduring partnership has brought about tremendous progress in STEM education over the past five years. Through this unique collaboration, we have empowered teachers, inspired students, and transformed classrooms across America. As the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition continues to flourish, the impact on STEM education and the broader community will undoubtedly grow.

Learn more about our partnership with Samsung Solve for Tomorrow. If you’re a public middle or high school educator that wants to participate in the 2023–2024 Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition, visit www.samsung.com/solve. Entries for the 14th annual competition are open now through Friday, October 27, 2023.

DonorsChoose sees banner donation year with help from Gates Foundation and millions of small gifts

Earlier this month, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $2 million to match 50% of all DonorsChoose pledges for one day.

No items found.

Kerry Richardson likes that some of her fellow teachers at Richmond Public Schools in Virginia nicknamed her “Walmart.” Others call the second grade teacher “Boy Scout.”

Yes, Richardson says with a laugh, she is always prepared to lend fellow teachers whatever they may need. She says that’s only possible because of supplies she gets from DonorsChoose, the online platform that connects teachers seeking materials for their students and classrooms with contributors looking to support their efforts.

And Richardson is not alone.

DonorsChoose has seen a banner year for donations in 2023, setting records by collecting nearly $10 million during Teacher Appreciation Week in May. Earlier this month, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $2 million to match 50% of all DonorsChoose pledges for one day – a marked departure from the way the largest U.S. philanthropy normally makes donations, based on its own meticulous research and big-picture priorities.

Read more at ap.org.

Three Career-Readiness Lesson Plans for 3rd–8th Grade Using TIME for Kids’ Your 🔥 Job

Adapt these teacher-created career-readiness lesson plans to your classroom


The famous question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Imagining all the things you can do and achieve in the future is an essential part of childhood, and educators have the special opportunity to expand kids’ ideas of what’s possible.

To help teachers introduce students to cool careers in growing fields, TIME for Kids created Your 🔥 Job—a free online platform filled with resources to help elementary- and middle-schoolers get excited about their futures.

In Spring 2023, TIME for Kids teamed up with DonorsChoose, and invited 3rd–8th grade teachers to submit a lesson plan to engage students with the Your  🔥 Job platform.

Huge thank you to all the teachers who submitted their ideas! TIME for Kids picked the three top for other teachers to adapt for their own students. Check out lesson plans from our winning teachers below!

Your 🔥 Job Project Curriculum

Job Fair

Ms. Menifield | Grades 3–5

Gloria Menifield, a 3rd grade teacher in Southaven, MI, developed this lesson to help students engage in the topic of their future through a classroom job fair.

Inspiring Advice

Ms. Roberts | Grades 3–5

Suzanne Roberts, a 4th grade teacher in Cape Coral, FL, developed this lesson  to help inspire students to start thinking about their futures, and encourage them to spark the same inspiration in others.

Preparing for the Future

Ms. Miller | Grades 6–8

Katie Miller, a middle school language arts teacher, developed this lesson to help students consider how the past and the present can influence their future.

Inspired to bring these lessons to your students? Create a project to request all the resources you need to bring them to life.

Raising the Stakes for PreK-12 Funding Equity Post-Affirmative Action

A statement from DonorsChoose CEO Alix Guerrier

Education Leaders

On June 29, 2023, the Supreme Court struck down Affirmative Action, ruling that race could not be considered as a factor in college and university admissions. In doing so, they not only ignored our country’s long history of racism in public schooling, but they eliminated a critical means of pursuing access to a great education for every student. As someone who attended Harvard while Affirmative Action was policy, taught in public schools, and is now the leader of one of America’s largest education equity organizations, I know this decision is a step away from justice. Since the ruling was passed, I’ve worked closely with the DonorsChoose team to unpack this blow to higher education equity and how it raises the stakes for our work supporting preK–12 classrooms.

When I applied to universities as a high school senior, I didn’t fit the traditional model of academic success. I’m a first generation American, the child of Haitian and Brazilian immigrants, and attended New Haven Public Schools. Each of the K-12 public schools I attended are what we call Equity Focus Schools at DonorsChoose: historically underfunded schools where the majority of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and where a majority of the students are Black, Latino, or Native American. 

While I didn’t fully grasp it as a kid, I now understand the ways systemic racism and economic inequity placed me and my peers at a disadvantage. With less funding for books, AP classes, and extracurricular activities, my K-12 school environment wasn’t able to provide the same learning opportunities that most of my eventual classmates at Harvard had, and my college application looked very different from what schools like Harvard were used to seeing. 

My high school didn’t have AP Macroeconomics, a working chemistry lab, or a fancy athletic center. But gratefully, I had access to other programs to fill in those gaps, like free academic summer programs ("nerd camps"!) that gave students like me the same high-level STEM instruction available in public schools serving higher income communities. I was also the beneficiary of a college admissions process that valued the perspective I brought through my various identities: a mixed-race Black student in an urban public school setting, a native Haitian Creole speaker who learned English as a second language, a passionate math and science nerd from the very beginning.

Without these race-conscious programs and policies, I would never have had the chance to eventually prove myself at Harvard, earning a physics degree and successfully working on cutting-edge experiments in particle physics, or to subsequently earn admission to Stanford to study business and education on my pathway to working on educational opportunities for others.

While college isn’t the only path to success after high school, it is a highly effective one. Studies show that when students of color attend selective colleges, they earn more after graduation and build more robust career networks — all of which will now be unduly harder for students of color to attain.

We’ve seen this re-marginalization play out before. When California eliminated the consideration of race in college admissions, there was an immediate sharp decline in the number of Black and Hispanic students attending the most selective institutions — not because these students became suddenly less qualified or deserving, but because the systemic inequities present in all our nation’s institution were able to exist unmitigated. 

Some scholars estimate that over the coming years, we’ll see a nationwide 10% drop in Black and Hispanic enrollment, with declines as high as 30–40% at the most prestigious institutions where Affirmative Action was most often in play. I’m heartbroken to think of the novel contributions, unique innovations, and diverse perspectives our society will be missing out on by narrowing this pathway to success.

In the face of this decision, our commitment to racial equity in education is unwavering. Over the coming months and years, we’ll be working harder than ever to level the playing field across preK–12 public schools so that every student has an equal chance to chase their dreams.

5 Minutes to a Funded Project

Use these tips and customizable templates to spread the word about your DonorsChoose project ahead of the school year!


A new school year is on the horizon and you better believe that  means the DonorsChoose team will be going all out. On August 15th, EVERY donation to teacher requests will get a 50% match from their region's SONIC Drive-In, while funds last. That’s why we’ve created a few quick, customizable resources for sharing out your DonorsChoose project. 

We’ve found that teachers who take one of the key 5-minute sharing actions below have a 92% success rate. (Seriously.) So go ahead and get started. Choose one of the 5 minute actions below and your project will be fully funded in no time!

Option A: The Social Savvy Sharer

Before the match day begins, pick out a few favorite graphics from our collection  — then share on social media in the morning because the match might spend out fast. And don’t worry, you can choose the social platform and schedule that works for you. Whether it’s 1 Facebook and 1 TikTok post on August 2, Instagram stories peppered throughout the day, or a couple of solid tweets. Whatever you’re most comfortable with is the way to go!

Feeling extra excited about these graphics? You can create your own custom graphic using the Canva templates below:

4 social media graphics laid out in a scatter formation
Download one of these graphics to use on social media

Option B: The Group Chat Go-Getter

Social media not your thing? Take your project to the group chat instead. You can customize, copy, and paste the message we drafted for you below into a text or an email thread with 3-5 friends. Make sure to personalize your message — and include your project link so your circle can easily support their favorite teacher (you!).

Hi friends! It’s Back-to-school seasn and I want to give my students [robotics kits! new books! markers that actually work!] so I posted a project on DonorsChoose. For today only, all donations are doubled!! I’d be so grateful if you would make a small donation or share this link with others: [your project link]. Thank you a million times from me and my [28 little Einsteins-in-training]!

Option C: The "Easy as 1-2-3"

If you want a way to let your friends, family, and wider network know about your project, consider this option your Back-to-school triumvirate. Complete these three steps together to give your project the momentum it needs:

  1. Send a personalized email to one person who cares about you and your classroom, asking them to chip in if they can. Include your project link!
  2. Post 1x about your project on your favorite social media platform. Include your project link!
  3. Send one group email to celebrate the special day. Did we mention yet to include your project link?

    Not sure who to reach out to? Get some ideas here!

Whichever approach you choose, know that your 5 minutes will be well spent in sharing out the awesome work you and your students are doing. And remember, a warm hello, your project link, and a giant thank you goes a long way!

ColorPop Parent, Vanessa on the Power of Books That Help Kids Feel Seen

As a parent to two young mixed-raced children, Vanessa connects deeply with the ColorPop Books mission. Learn about her story and the power of identity-affirming kids books.


My family has always been a little non-traditional. I am a first-generation Mexican-American woman married to a white man, Jeremy, who simply identifies as American. We have two young mixed-race children and have experienced how difficult it can be to find quality books that made our children feel seen. For most of Jackson's (8) and Grey’s (7) lives, Jeremy has been a stay-at-home dad while I’ve worked full-time. Since the days my children were born, we’ve been seemingly blending our two identities, experiences, and traditions together — but also often failing at finding families that look like ours in what we read and watch. 

Last year, I joined DonorsChoose to launch ColorPop Books, a new initiative powered by our organization (and inspired by our community), to make it easy for parents to find books that feature underrepresented characters, authors, and illustrators... Because of my own personal experiences searching for books with characters that looked like me, both when I was child and now with my own children, I feel deeply connected to the ColorPop mission.

Looking for a Mirror

Not too long ago, my daughter, Grey, asked me if we were Mexican. We were having our nightly downtime after dinner with the TV on, toys spread across the floor, and I was scrolling through my phone. I was caught off guard, shocked that she was so unsure. Here I was, thinking that I was representing my culture and raising a strong Latina. But to her, it made no difference. It felt challenging to explain my Mexican heritage to her. And — because we were living far away from my family at the time — it felt lonely. 

Looking for a Window

Fast forward to a few months ago, when Jackson and Grey started a new school for 1st and 2nd grade. After the first few days, Jackson came home a little quiet and told me he felt bad because there was a girl in his class who was different and he didn’t understand why. After a few conversations, I put it together. Jackson’s classmate had started transitioning to a new gender identity over the summer. Jackson had simply known her as she was, and didn’t question it until other classmates brought it up. I felt a strong responsibility to explain it to Jackson in a way that built empathy and support for his classmate. 

How Books Help

ColorPop Books was built to help bear the weight in parents' lives. We read hundreds of books,  filtering out harmful narratives or shallow attempts at “diversity”, all with one goal in mind: support parents, help their children feel seen, and build bridges to other identities and experiences. 

Our ColorPop book bundles would have been a welcome addition to the conversation I had with Grey about how beautiful our Mexican culture is; from the delicious food to the vibrant traditions, and warm people. It would also have added so much to the conversation I had with Jackson on how proud his friend should be for living her truth and being herself and ways he could intervene when other classmates were being unkind. 

From One Parent to Another

Not only do we leverage our DonorsChoose network of experts and teachers to help curate our book bundles, we also speak directly with parents. We know that books and representation can be key to navigating tough moments – it’s sincerely our hope that you find support, when you need it, in our book bundles. Whether you desire your child to see more of themselves in the books they read or you want to introduce them to a new experience, ColorPop is here to help. Always inclusive, always high-quality, and always here to share in some of the hard stuff.

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