The holidays are at our doorstep and many families, students, and teachers are still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Ian. As one of the most powerful storms to hit the United States, many of Florida’s students experienced weeks of classroom disruption due to familial displacement, school system closures, and more.
Data from the Scholastic Teacher & Principal School Report shows that 56% of teachers report spending their own money on books. For several teachers, this year will be more challenging than ever as they work to rebuild and replenish their classroom libraries with resources they need to support students and to send books home to families.
We spoke with two educators who are turning to Scholastic ClassroomsCount™, a fully crowdsourced fund for educators to buy resources for their classroom, to offset the harmful effects of this natural disaster.
Allison Lock, a second grade teacher from Fort Myers, Florida, shared with us how she is helping her students continue to enjoy reading despite disruptions:
Giving to her students is a priority: “I have one particular student who lost everything in the hurricane. I do this campaign every year, but it meant more this year because I knew many had very little or were displaced. I give books every year, but I wanted to give back to this year’s group particularly, as they went through hurricanes, COVID, and are living through tough times as kids. It’s just stressful all the way around for them.”
She intends to utilize her donations to supplement her classroom library with a wider variety of titles: “I plan on using my ClassroomCounts™ donations to purchase nonfiction books for my students to read this winter. A lot of my kids love reading nonfiction and chapter books, and some don’t have access to those at the local libraries, so I plan to let them choose the books they want from our classroom library and take them home where hopefully a parent or older sibling can sit down and read with them over the holidays.”
Second grade students in Allison Lock's classroom gather to read picture books together.
Stephanie Kesterson, a fourth grade teacher from Cape Coral, Florida, talked about the aftermath of Hurricane Ian and how she plans to help her English Language Learners get back on track:
She aims to use her donations to purchase books in both English and Spanish for her students to take home: “The hurricane has proved to be a constant readjustment. I have to gear my new classroom library even more to my students’ needs, especially for English Language Learners. I try to help them choose books on their level that I call ‘need books,’ in addition to letting them pick out ‘want books’ for themselves to encourage reading.”
Her teaching philosophy is to make learning fun and different: “I am always happy when I see a student make a breakthrough. You have to believe in them and never give up on them, as sometimes you’re their only person. I love my job; there’s been years where I’ve thought about going to work somewhere else — but this is the job for me. It’s rewarding and sometimes it feels like I was born to do this.”
She has used the ClassroomsCount™ donations received so far to putbooks into students’ hands in time for the holiday season: “When I got the boxes from Scholastic donations, I was excited and humbled by it. I showed every cover of every book to the kids and they were thrilled. A couple of my boys have plowed through all The Bad Guys books and they love the I Survived books too."
If you’re a teacher, you can set up a ClassroomsCount™ campaign in minutes and share it with your friends, family, and community. Sharing on social media makes it four times more likely that your campaign will get funded.
If you’re not a teacher but want to support classrooms, ClassroomsCount™ is a fantastic way to do so. Check out these inspiring campaigns, and fund a teacher’s campaign today to get books, magazines, and products in kids’ hands all year long!