New gifts for learning

Online funding drive gives NOSD students more tools to enhance their education

STUDENTS IN THE Northern Ozaukee School District have received new books, Chromebooks and headphones provided through an online flash-funding drive. Proudly posing with some of the gifts are (front row, from left) Jeselle LaPlant, Mariska Schreiner, Hope Felicien, Braeden Smith, (middle row) Bella Elinoff, Kevin Allen, Tyler Todorov, (back row) Star Egerer, Tyler Haasch and Megan Krause. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Northern Ozaukee School District recently had five classroom projects supported through a flash-funding drive by a digital currency company.

According to learning coach Lori Marini, the district received $4,879 in supplies after an online payment network called Ripple donated $29 million to fund 35,647 classroom projects across the country March 27.

“They’re calling it the Ripple effect because more classroom projects are continuing to get funded by companies and other people because they want to pay it forward,” Marini said.

For the past five years, district teachers have been posting their wish list for classroom items on www.donorschose.org, which allows for public school teachers to request supplies that don’t fit into their school’s budget. 

“NOSD has been very fortunate to supply a lot of great things for its teachers, but there’s always that ‘What if we could do this?’” Marini said.

The items purchased with the money from Ripple include 10 Google Chromebooks and management licenses, a grade-level set of 60 headphones and 59 classroom books.

Third-grade teacher Tania Mader posted her classroom project online in January to get new headphones for her students, so they could work independently on their computers without distracting other students. She said her fundraiser was going to expire in May and all of the previous donations to support her cause would have been returned to the donors.

“The goal was to replace some of our worn-out devices and ensure that we would have enough for the larger group coming to third grade next year,” she said. “I was absolutely thrilled to find out that Ripple funded every Donors Choose project. Our classes are immensely grateful that we could have these supplies.”

According to Marini, some of the projects were partially funded, but the support had grown stagnant until Ripple came into the picture.

“You don’t often hear about a big company supporting public education,” she said.

Marini said the Chromebooks will be used in the high school to support the district’s one-to-one initiative for computers for each student.

“Right now there’s not enough access to Chromebooks per student,” Marini said, noting the computers will be used in the physical education and art departments because those departments don’t usually receive funding for new technology. 

“The students can use the Chromebooks for tracking various data in phy ed or use the software for digital editing in art class,” Marini said.

Marini encourages the public to support classroom projects through www.donorschoose.org because the website is clear about how the money is spent.

“It completely itemizes everything that is going to be purchased,” she said. “The money never goes to the teachers because it’s all done by a third party.”

She said the newly donated items by Ripple arrived in the district last week, and the students and teachers will be writing thank-you letters to all of the projects’ donors.

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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