I've got the honor of teaching the hardest working students in Brooklyn. Our kids go to school from 7 AM to 4 PM every single day; a whopping 9 hours of learning! The catch here is the majority of my students are significantly behind grade level, and the majority of my 8th graders are reading and writing years below grade level. Therefore, in order for them to meet the high expectations that have been set, they must be disciplined and fully dedicated to empowering themselves through scholarship.
The vast majority of my kids qualify for free or reduced-rate lunches.
Many also receive services such as speech and language, reading intervention, and mentoring. Despite the many obstacles my students face, they are hardworking, passionate, and enthusiastic about learning.
One of the things I love most about my school is that we have a variety of programs to meet our kids where they're at. We have a 12:1 special education classes, co-taught classes, at-risk advisories, and after-school counseling and social work groups. In order to provide all of our kiddos with the support they need, it falls on us adults to do the heavy lifting of fundraising to make it all happen.
The students in my class range from 8th grade reading level to kindergarten reading level. In addition to our regular struggling readers, we have a large crew of English language learners. Some of my students have recently arrived from Yemen without knowing a word of English, and others have arrived from Latin American countries knowing some very basic words. As a reading teacher of students with such incredibly diverse needs, it's my responsibility to make sure students, regardless of their reading level, have access to quality books that engage them and inspire them to grow their reading skills.
Every child deserves dignity in the classroom, and no struggling teenage reader wants to pick up a children's picture book in front of their grade-level peers.
However, teenagers of all ability levels love graphic novels. The combination of images and words helps bridge that divide and allows readers across the board to access literature.
It's hard to describe the power of seeing a 14 year old child who reads at a 1st grade level to feel pride in the book he's reading in front of his peers and feel the desire to keep on reading more and more books from cover to cover. It's an equally magical moment when I get to see 8th graders who "hate" reading become obsessed with a graphic novel series. It really is true: the graphic novel is a gateway genre!
If you donated to this project, you can sign in to leave a comment for Ms. Conner.
DonorsChoose is the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.
As a teacher-founded nonprofit, we're trusted by thousands of teachers and supporters across the country. This classroom request for funding was created by Ms. Conner and reviewed by the DonorsChoose team.
DonorsChoose makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.