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Thank You for Bringing #BestSchoolYear Joy to So Many Classrooms

Students with classroom tech

This back-to-school season, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation matched donations to teacher requests on DonorsChoose.org for two days.What unfolded blew our minds.On the morning of August 23, The Gates Foundation match began, inspiring over 33,000 donors to flock to DonorsChoose.org. All told, classroom supporters and public school teachers across the country teamed up with The Gates Foundation to bring over $2.9M in donations to classroom requests.Here are just three of the thousands of teachers whose requests received funding through this year’s partnership with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

Ms. Conner Uses a Trip to a Ropes Course to Build Trust

For Ms. Conner, the signs that a student is at risk of staying back a year are clear: Low grades, missed classes, and a previous history of being held back. Her school, Unity Preparatory in Brooklyn, is trying something different this year to make sure every student can succeed. “Our school is hoping to break the cycle of failure for our neediest students and start the school year strong by enrolling them in an at-risk advisory program,” she writes. “In order for our advisory/mentorship program to work, our kids need to have deep connections with their advisors and really trust them.”To build those connections, Ms. Conner is taking students and their mentors to a ropes course for a day of trust and community-building exercises. She “can't imagine a better way to kick off the program than that.”

Mrs. Deering Goes Full STEAM Ahead

"If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow." - John DeweyMrs. Deering used this classic quote to kick off her STEAM project because she knows “academic expectations have never been higher.” This year, she’s making sure that her second-graders have more access to STEAM materials, because “the introduction of STEAM activities in our classroom will encourage students to become creative and critical thinkers, problem solvers, and hands-on learners.”Along with the “endless learning” these materials will bring to her classroom, Mrs. Deering’s students will be ready for the future!

Ms. Williams Teaches the Lost Art of Food Canning

In her Food & Nutrition class, Ms. Williams teachers her high school students key life skills that will benefit them long after graduation. With her latest project, her students “will learn what farm to table actually means when canning and preserving food. While undergoing this project, students will see the process of food preservation first hand.”And beyond the learning objectives, Mrs. Williams hopes to use it as an opportunity to build her classroom community. “Canning was something so many of us grew up helping with and was a family event. In the classroom, I hope to recreate that feeling I had with my family.”Huge thanks to our classroom supporters, dedicated teachers, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for helping bring these (and many other) classroom dreams to life!

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