Maira is one of the hardest working people we've ever met.
She's also brilliant, super-reliable, and absolutely dedicated to her chosen profession of education. She pours herself into crafting amazing lessons, is constantly researching the latest learning strategies and techniques, and always makes herself available to her students in whatever capacity they need.
All of these qualities make Maira one of, if not the, best teachers I've ever had the privilege of knowing and learning from.
She sets the highest standard in helping to prepare our youth for a brighter future.
This year Maira started her first year of teaching back in her home state of Washington. She teaches a third grade classroom at Lowell Elementary School, a Title I school in Everett, with over 65% of the students registered for the free or reduced lunch program.
The school is also number 2 in the district for having the greatest number of "students in transition", that is, students who are currently homeless, doubled up (residing in temporary accommodations), or living in shelters.
Many of her students are low-income, at-risk children coming from a variety of ethnic and family backgrounds. That means they are among those who could most benefit from additional assistance, including access to modern, engaging classroom technology.
Properly used, modern technology and digital tools can have substantial, positive impact on children's learning. Students are more easily engaged and visual learners can greatly benefit from the realtime responsive nature of smartboards.
With the right support - the interactive lessons, projects, and presentation capabilities afforded by modern digital displays can be extremely effective and exciting for young learners, improving uptake and retention.
Our generation witnessed the dawn of the digital age, and these children will be growing up in the digital world. Regardless of their respective interests, talents, skills, their eventual chosen career paths - the common denominator will computers and technology.
Just this year Maira's school was able to allocate a Chromebook for every child. The next logical step would be to introduce a digital teaching platform that could easily interact with and complement the students' new laptops.
Unfortunately the school doesn't have the funds for this yet, and only one teacher in Maira's school has been lucky enough to receive a grant to equip her classroom with an older style, projector-mounted Smartboard.
That's where we come in.
If every one of us can donate a relatively small amount, and tell our friends and family members about Maira and the incredible work she does, we can raise enough to collectively purchase Maira a Smartboard for her class.
Any amount will help, even $10-20 adds up! You can pledge your amount below and you don't need to pay now. You'll only be asked for the money later when we collect enough pledge amounts to reach our goal.
We also, probably, won't be able to get all the money we need - considering all the moving pieces involved in transferring funds, purchasing and setting up the board - in time to get everything ready for her birthday (December 2nd).
But what's the harm in trying?!
The SMART Board!
After quite a bit of research and very helpful support from the Everett Public School District we will be looking at a New Year/early Spring timeline for this project, in order to secure the best board and support for Maira's classroom and school.
The recommended models and their details for three of the top smartboard manufacturers are listed below.
Promethean - ActivPanel
65", 70", 75", and 86"
4K Ultra HD
20 touch points
Free ClassFlow™ and ActivInspire™ software
SMART - MX Series
65", 75", and 86"
4K Ultra HD
50,000 hour rating
10 simultaneous touch points
1-year SMART Learning Suite subscription included
Update: While our current goal is $3,599 - that reflects the current best pricing, but may not include shipping, installation and taxes. Final pricing will depend on which brand and model we finally decide to go with, which will be partly dependent on what additional pricing support is available for each option.
Here are some excerpted paragraphs from the introductory email and information I sent out to all three companies:
I represent a small, private group interested in promoting technology initiatives in classrooms in the Everett Public School district. We are working with the Learning & Technology Services Department for the district to assess the best, modern-style smartboard and supporting company for our pilot classroom at Lowell Elementary School.
Considering the privately funded, "first of its kind" introductory nature of this project and our goal, we're hoping to find a provider and partner who can really assist us in securing a reliable, modern smartboard for this first classroom to showcase what's possible and what kind of effect they can have.
The benefits to the company for helping this initiative would be excellent exposure with the schools and district for consideration during future technology initiatives. The target teacher is a technology in education enthusiast and would be an amazing demonstrator for the board's potential and capabilities, as well as an advocate for it's effectiveness in the classroom with students.
The board we are able to secure for this project, with the related software and support, will become the most familiar in the area with all parties involved. Our partners at the district also request a 1-month evaluation period in the classroom for the chosen board.
Once we can review the three recommended models and the final quotes for their purchase, installation, mounting and any other necessary components for full-featured use (e.g., wifi and pc modules), and educational software packages or subscriptions, we would like to discuss a possible timeframe with the company that best fits the goals and funding potential of this fundraiser.
You can send a request for the full email, or copies of any other correspondence conducted for this project, to my email listed below.
If you have any questions or would like a copy of the emails with the representative, etc. just call or email me! Karina has also designed a basic flyer/poster to help spread the word - Maira fundraiser flyer.