At DonorsChoose, we are committed to combating racial and socioeconomic inequity in school funding. As part of our Equity Focus, we’re working with donors and partners to combat systemic racial and socioeconomic inequity, by bringing even more resources to Equity Focus Schools — schools where at least 50% of students are Black, Latino/a, Native American, Pacific Islander, or multiracial and at least 50% of students qualify for free or reduced price lunch, the standard measure for school economic need.
To help us more strategically support teachers and students in Equity Focus Schools, we launched the Equity Accelerator Initiative (EAI) — a cohort of 54 district partners committed to providing equitable student access to the learning materials made available through DonorsChoose.
The Equity Acceleration Initiative
EAI District Partners receive all of the benefits of the Partnership Program, including a district landing page, early notice of funding campaigns, and marketing and communications resources — and more. To provide even greater visibility into classroom needs, and the distribution of resources across their district, EAI District Partners also receive DonorsChoose equity insights to help district leaders provide additional support to Equity Focus Schools.
Using data reports to inform district purchasing decisions
District leaders are informing purchasing decisions by identifying trends in the resources teachers in Equity Focus Schools' request on DonorsChoose, and implementing the most impactful solutions in other classrooms to create meaningful learning opportunities.
From 2017 - 2018, projects requesting flexible seating jumped 670% on DonorsChoose. The boom in requests that year was an early sign of a larger movement to transform classrooms into collaborative and inclusive spaces for learning in districts all across the country.
In the first five months of the COVID-19 pandemic, requests for social and emotional learning (SEL) resources tripled, with requests ranging from journals to yoga mats to teacher professional development. In August 2021, teachers posted 4x more requests for SEL resources than in a typical year, and those requests remain high. This consistent growth across our sites is indicative of educators’ interest in learning more ways to support their students' mental health and wellness needs.
Using data reports to foster a community of collaboration
Informed by their equity insights, leaders foster a community of collaboration in their districts by tapping teachers who've found success on DonorsChoose to lead professional development sessions for their peers.
If you spot certain schools in your district getting the most funding through DonorsChoose, you might tap their successful teachers to lead training with their peers across the district. Doing so provides an excellent professional development opportunity for the teacher leader. It also ensures that all teachers throughout EAI Districts know how to use DonorsChoose, fostering a culture of collaboration within the school community.
In total, more than 750,000 of the students will benefit from this enhanced support through our Equity Acceleration Initiative. By partnering with DonorsChoose through this initiative, you'll have a national network of allies excited to help students in your community have the best learning experience possible.
Meet Our EAI Cohort Member Districts
See all of our EAI District Partners here, and learn more about how we partner with public school districts across the country.