Based on the successful applications by teachers in our area who participated in the 2009 U.S. Cellular “Calling All Teachers” campaign that awards $1 million to classrooms across the country, every teacher should be taking advantage of this opportunity to obtain money for their school or class projects or needs.
Last year, 43 Maine teachers were among those who shared in the national funding program, and of that number 25 came from teachers in the Bangor Daily News circulation area.
Two of them, Amy Kessler of Bangor, a teacher at Eddington School, and Karen Sattler of Linneus, who teaches at Mill Pond School in Hodgdon, each had two requests granted by U.S. Cellular.
“I think it’s great,” Amy said, “because we only get $300 [per school year] to spend for our classroom.”
For her first-graders, Amy was able to purchase a listening center cart, which provides storage for items such as cassette players and headphones, she said.
“The kids always made sure things got put into the boxes and the headphones were hanging” where they should be, she said.
The youngsters “were just thrilled that they got something — that somebody donated something to them — and they all wrote thank-you notes and sent in pictures,” she said.
Amy encourages any teacher to apply.
“I’ve been very pushy on this,” she said of urging her fellow teachers to sign up.
Kelly Cioe, publicist for U.S. Cellular, reports that from Aug. 1 through Sept. 15, teachers can register as U.S. Cellular Teachers at www.DonorsChoose.org and post their classroom projects for funding consideration. The website is “an online charity connecting you to classrooms in need,” according to its home page.
Teachers do not have to be U.S. Cellular customers to participate, Kelly said.
“It’s all done online,” she said.
To sign up as a U.S. Cellular Teacher, go to the site, click on Teachers/Post Project Requests and follow the instructions.
Kelly reported last year that U.S. Cellular funded more than 2,000 classroom projects benefiting nearly 175,000 students, more than 40 percent of which were in rural schools.
Kelly said she considers this project wonderful because “so many public school teachers use their own money to purchase supplies for their classrooms.”
“In fact, it is reported the average amount a teacher spends is $1,200 a year,” for his or her classroom, she said.
Kelly said taking advantage of the U.S. Cellular program through DonorsChoose.org “is a great way to connect the community with their schools.”
Last year’s grants were large and small.
“We literally had some from $20 and up to $1,000,” she said, “and we’d love to encourage more teachers to participate.”
To give teachers an idea of the variety of projects and what can be funded, here are the names of area teachers, their schools and the project requests that were granted in 2009.
Amanda McCabe, Woodland Elementary School, Baileyville, “Look Up and See!”; Geoffrey Wingard, Bangor High School, “Navigating History: Visualizing Migration & Human Development”; Linda Bangs, Capri Street School, Brewer, “Kindergarten Kids Love Guided Reading”; Milisa LaLonde, Miles Lane School, Bucksport, “Photo Journalists R Us”; Paul Hubbard, Caravel Middle School, Carmel, “Operation Information … Staying Connected”; and Kessler’s two requests, “Reading Center for Enriching Students’ Enjoyment of Books” and “Responsibility Through Organization.”
Also Tammie Lerman, St. John’s Valley Tech Center, Frenchville, “Portfolio Development”; Lynn Ouellette, Dr. Levesque Elementary School, Frenchville, “Surviving the Economic Slump”; John Haskins, St. John Valley Tech Center, “Alignment Machine”; Jolane Clawson, Piscataquis Community Middle School, Guilford, “Bookworms in Bean Bags”; Laura Matthews, Reeds Brook Middle School, Hampden, “Green Kids Read!”; Linda MacDonald, Hampden Academy, “Lifelong Planning”; and Karen Sattler, Mill Pond School, Hodgdon, with “Soaring Beyond the Newspaper and Tape!” and “Take Me Out To the Ballgame!”
Other recipients were Theresa White, Holden Elementary School, a 42-inch television for students with poor vision; Rachel Carmichael, Houlton Southside School, “Marvelous Mini-lesson Whiteboard Easel”; Julia Mathies, Suzanne M. Smith Elementary School, Levant, “Chicks on the Run” and Heidi Harris, Mattanawcook Junior High School, Lincoln, “Preserving Our Little Town’s History.”
Additional awardees were Christy Rolfe, Rose M. Gaffney Elementary School, Machias, “Growing and Understanding Life with Small Hands”; Ree Anna Bridges, Rose M. Gaffney Elementary School, “Growing Up Green”; Thomas Gerard, Madawaska Middle High School, “Eye Have Fun in Gym with Digital Camera!”; Tammy Willey, Pine Street Elementary School, Presque Isle, “PHonological PHrenzy!”; Charity Williams, Princeton Elementary School, “Check My Fluency” and Sarah Young, Leroy H. Smith Elementary School, Winterport, “Mastering Math Concepts with Write and Wipe Boards.”