Christine Lodal, a special education teacher at Eagle Middle School, wants her students to have the resources they need to learn math. She works with students who are non-verbal, have autism and learning disabilities.
“My students do best when they have hands-on activities,” Lodal said. “I can teach multiplication, ratios and fractions in a way the kids can understand better.”
Lodal was determined to get hands-on materials in her classroom and turned to a site that 944 Idaho teachers are using to fund classroom supplies, DonorsChoose.org. The organization has collected $328 million from 1.7 million supporters and filtered funds to 64 percent of the country’s K-12 public schools. Since 2007, $1.5 million has been given to Idaho teachers and 2,200 classroom projects.
“I heard about the program on the Stephen Colbert show and jumped online to create a classroom project,” Lodal said. “I started using the site in 2010.”
Last year Lodal created a classroom project through DonorsChoose.org and asked for $800 for Legos. She uses Legos to teach students numbers and fractions. What she didn’t know was the money would be funded within weeks — Chevron picked up the tab through the Fuel Your School program, an innovative collaboration with DonorsChoose.org.
“I couldn’t believe that Chevron funded my project and I received boxes of Legos,” Lodal said. “My students and I were very excited.”
Fuel Your School is now in its second year in Ada and Canyon counties and will generate up to $250,000 this fall, which will help fund classroom supplies and materials, including those focused on science, technology, engineering, math and hands-on activities to help connect real world experiences to classroom learning.
“At Chevron we think it’s important to reinvest in communities that we have business operations – we want to invest specifically in education,” said Brent Tippen, public and government affairs advisor for Chevron. “We want to give students the opportunity to learn and grow in classrooms starting in kindergarten and working their way up the pipeline.”
In 2014, the program benefited 26,784 Idaho students and helped fund 202 eligible classroom projects for public schools in the Treasure Valley.
This month, public school teachers from Ada and Canyon counties are invited to create classroom projects at www.DonorsChoose.org. From Oct. 1 through Oct. 31, the Fuel Your School program will donate $250,000 to help fund eligible classroom projects when consumers purchase eight or more gallons of fuel at participating Chevron and Texaco stations.
“This is a great program and I recommend it to all teachers,” Lodal said. “The Legos are going to be around for many years, helping students learn math.”
For more information about the 2015 Fuel Your School program and to track local projects in need of funding, click here.