DonorsChoose Pick: Help Instill a Love of Reading in Atlanta Fourth Graders

When it comes to developing students’ perspectives on reading, Teach For America alum Allaisia Cotton (Metro Atlanta ’11) believes fourth grade is a critical time.

“They can either decide that reading is a fun and enjoyable activity that they can engage in at any time,” Ms. Cotton says, “or they can decide that reading is a boring activity that they only participate in when asked to.”

DonorsChoose Pick: Help Students in Baltimore Conceptualize Advanced Math

“Time after time, my students show how much they care about people,” says Teach For America alum Artemus Werts (Baltimore ’13). “When several teachers at my school were laid off due to budget constraints, my students staged an in-school sit-in to protect their jobs—my students fight for those they love.”

It’s now Mr. Werts’ turn to give back to his students at Paul L Dunbar High School in Baltimore.

DonorsChoose Pick: Provide Books to Students on Chicago’s West Side

Teach For America alum Jessica Valerio (Chicago ’11) is working with a team of talented educators to create a new KIPP middle school on the West Side of Chicago.

“This year, 180 fifth- and sixth-grade students will join a new KIPP campus dedicated to empowering students with the character and academic skills necessary to persist through college, pursue their passions with confidence, and lead for a more just Chicago,” Ms. Valerio says.

DonorsChoose Pick: Boost Students’ World Awareness in Las Vegas


Teach For America alum Lauren Warshawsky (Las Vegas Valley ’08) is working hard to expand the experiences of her second-grade students beyond their classroom at Disken Elementary School in Las Vegas.

“Their world includes their homes, school, park, grocery store, and a few other places,” Ms. Warshawsky says. “Wouldn’t it be great if their world included castles in Ireland, a science lab in Atlanta studying a new bug, or a bat hospital in Australia too?”

Ms. Warshawsky’s students arrive at school each day eager to learn, no matter what challenges they face outside the classroom.

DonorsChoose Pick: Help Make Inclusive Education a Reality


“There is no typical day in my classroom,” says Teach For America alum Jenny Bard. “We are always exploring the world around us through the lens of autism.”

Ms. Bard exclusively teaches students with autism at Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, Washington. Her goal is to offer her students as much access to general education content as possible.

“I consider my job to make school a fun and engaging place for them to be—and to help them adjust to their environment as best they can,” Ms. Bard says. “Many of my students have sensory sensitivity and need access to assistive technology to make the vision of an inclusive education a reality.”

GoFundMe Pick: Teaching 21st-Century Skills in LA


In order to provide her students at West Adams Preparatory High School in Los Angeles with the 21-century skills necessary for success, first year Teach For America corps member Tanya Pacheco-Kachirisky (Los Angeles ’15) has decided to create a “mini-Chromebook lab” in her classroom. By integrating technology into the classroom, Ms. Pacheco-Kachirisky believes she’ll best prepare her students for college and beyond.

DonorsChoose Pick: Inspiring Civic Engagement in Washington State

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Although the students in Teach for America alum Zack Zappone’s middle school classroom in Kennewick, Washington, come from diverse backgrounds, they all share a common drive to positively affect their community through government and civic engagement.

The drive of these students from Park Middle School is so strong that they, along with Mr. Zappone and fellow teacher, Ms. Burt, have taken to to raise funds for an all-inclusive civic education program in Washington, DC. They are very close to reaching their fundraising goal—and just need a little extra support to see their dreams realized.

DonorsChoose Pick: Dirty Hands and Engaged Minds in Detroit


The students in Teach For America corps member Katie Rogers’ first-grade classroom at Carleton Elementary School in Detroit are curious, observant, and exploratory in nature. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that they want to learn about plant life cycles—and make their school more beautiful—by growing plants indoors.

“A hands-on experiment will help their minds grow, much like the seeds, beans, and vegetables they will be planting,” Ms. Rogers says.