By Jennifer Roland
Few schools and teachers have access to all the funds they need or want to outfit their classroom. According to a PBS survey last year, only one in five teachers say they have the updated technology they need. But with some creativity, educators can go beyond the typical PTA fundraiser and earn funding for specific classroom needs. Here are some ways teachers have filled their classroom coffers.
CORPORATE SPONSORS AND COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
Tim Smith, a San Francisco parent and chair of technology at Alvarado Elementary School, who's accustomed to schools asking parents for donations, decided to try something different three years ago.
He organized a Tech Search Party, now an annual event, which combines corporate sponsorship with a fun scavenger hunt using mobile devices. Corporations sponsor the event as part of their charitable give-back and provide participants with discount codes for purchases of their products and services. Participants sign up as teams and pay a small fee to be part of the scavenger hunt. Top teams win prizes.
The first year, all funds went to Alvarado Elementary School. The school purchased upgraded thin-client computer systems and software and upgraded many of the energy-hogging CRT monitors that were used at Alvarado. After the first event proved to be successful, they expanded to include two other local schools, splitting the proceeds from the event.