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Help Build a Multi-Media Library at Simon Gratz Mastery Charter!

Simon Gratz Staff

We are a group of passionate educators at Simon Gratz Mastery Charter School in North Philadelphia, who are working to create a love of learning in our students.  We are seeking your support in helping us raise $50,000 in 90 days, so that we can create a multi-media library for our students in both the middle school and high school (6th-12th grades). 

It is our school’s mission to be the best comprehensive, open enrollment high school at closing the opportunity gap by achieving academic and social growth with all students, so that they are post-secondary ready.  In order to achieve this, we must create a space where our students can access top resources, books, and technology.

Currently, our school does not have a functioning library to support our students’ academic and social growth.  At Gratz, our students generally enter our school reading significantly below grade level expectations.  Research shows that more access to books will result in more reading, which then leads to better literacy development and later success in life.  Additionally, the Library Research Center reported in their study that there is a direct correlation between school libraries and student achievement.  One study highlighted that "reading scores increase with the improvements in library media programs." In an effort to close the literacy gap in our community, we want to provide our students with rigorous, relevant, and interesting leveled books.

Additionally, the multi-media library will also provide access to much needed technology (computers and tablets) and an environment to support both classroom projects and individual student studies. This environment will help prepare our students for post-secondary programs, where library use is paramount to success.  It will also support the development of technology skills needed for success in a technology-driven world.

This multi-media Gratz community library will feature the following spaces:

  • The Resource Center: Catologed books and articles, resources for Voter Registration, Employment Searches, GED programs 
  • Tutoring Center/Lecture Hall
  • Technology Lab  

These funds will be used to buy:

  • Multiple genre books (grade levels 3-12) to support literacy development for all learners
  • Digital Downloads of books
  • Class sets of tablets
  • Desktop computers
  • Audiobook Recordings
  • Scholarly Journal Licenses
  • Installed programs: Encyclopedias and Approved Content Programs
  • Furniture and shelving

Any donation amount is appreciated, but donors may also choose to provide the following monetary amounts as a sponsorship:

All donors will receive a handwritten letter from a Simon Gratz student and invitation to our grand opening celebration!

We thank you for your support, and our students do too!


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A Trip of a Lifetime - Washington D.C. (June 2018)

Stephanie Brain

I currently teach 8th grade U.S. History at Landrum Middle School which is a title one school in Spring Branch ISD. More than 80% of our students are economically disadvantaged and have not had the opportunity to travel outside the vicinity of their neighborhood.

We are hoping to take at least 10 students on this trip of a lifetime to Washington D.C. in the summer of 2018, where their history lessons will come alive! The students that have been selected for this trip are students with good behavior, are in good academic standing, and are eager to learn and experience the history of our great nation.

The price for each student to attend is $1,713. This price includes airfare, hotel, all food, all tours/activities, tickets to museums, a full tour guide, overnight security, ground transportation, and so much more. 

The money raised will be equally divided among the students and deducted from their total cost. If we raise our goal of $5,000, it will allow us to contribute $500 per student. We know that $500 will not cover the entire amount of the trip, but anything we can raise will help.

Check out our Tour Website which details all the information about the trip.  (  You can find out fun activities and cultural events we will be experiencing on tour. You can also review all that’s included in the program and watch videos of the sites the students will be visiting.

This is a life changing opportunity for many of my students. It will give them the ability to learn out of the classroom and into the world which opens their eyes, preparing them for lifelong success.

Any amount you are willing to pledge will be more than appreciated. Any money donated will be tax deductible.

Feel free to contact me with any questions and/or information you may have! You may also comment in the section below.


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Growing Brains Through Strength

Chris Bonner

Recently I accepted the role of Director of Campus Operations at our KIPP high school in Newark (Newark Collegiate Academy).  I am honored to continue to serve KIPP NJ and excited to be in our high school because as I transition into this role, I think about the positive influence athletics, physical education and a coach had on my life outcomes. I am hoping to continue this tradition as I manage budgets that effect athletics and physical education and be able to present this gift to the school, the coaches/teachers and the kids.

Our kids deserve the same access to quality programs that their wealthier, suburban peers take for granted. Because of limited resources, we rightly prioritize making sure teachers and academic leaders have what they need in classrooms. For these type of things, we have to find creative ways and often rely on the generosity of donors.

With these funds I will purchase one or two Olympic lifting platforms and competition rubberized weights for use by all of the athletic programs (track, football, volleyball, soccer, and basketball) and CrossFit classes that are taught in Physical Education. In order to be a world class high school, we need world class athletics that start with a strong foundation. I hope I can continue to build relationships with our kids by spending time with them teaching them basic Olympic and power lifting and some CrossFit classes. 

What we plan to purchase:

2 x The 210 lb Rogue Fitness weight set, $588 each

2 x The Olympic Lifting Platform and 16 Rubber tiles so we can spread kids out since our gym is so tiny, $245 for the platforms and $399 for the rubber tiles.

The remaining amount is fees and shipping. 

I would like to have these items as close to the beginning of school as possible so all teams and PE classes can use them this school year. 

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Building The Foundation: Startup Classroom Supplies

Calvin Steinhauer

After completing Teach for America’s - 2017 Delta Institute I will be responsible for my very own classroom! I can't wait to decorate and meet my students and their families. One of the biggest hurdles that students in high need schools face is a lack of the necessary materials that are needed daily. It makes it infinitely more difficult for students to take part in activities and classwork when they do not have basic supplies.

To get the year started off right, I will use the funds that I raise to purchase the startup supplies needed to welcome my students to a classroom that is clean and stocked full with materials. This will allow me to provide the required supplies to students that otherwise would not have them. I will also purchase copy paper to ensure that I can provide my students with high quality learning materials, whether that is exit tickets, independent activities, or homework. Thank you so much in advance for supporting me and my students at the beginning of this exciting journey.

PledgeCents allows me to keep whatever I raise, so anything you can contribute really will make a difference for my first year. I want to make a great impression and a lasting impact on my first group of students and letting them know that they have a community that supports them both near and far will definitely get us on the right track. Here is a complete list of the materials that your generous investment will help provide for the students of my very first classroom:

Tiggly offers physical manipulatives that interact with literacy, math, and creative thinking learning apps for students. This provides students with opportunity to engage in digital learning through developmentally appropriate technology. The Tiggly Thinker Kit combines one set of Tiggly Words and one set of Tiggly Digits.

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Funding our Future

Tory Cottle

I am so proud to be returning for my third year as a teacher in Helena-West Helena. Helena is (unfortunately) ranked as the fourth poorest town in the country, and extra money for things like brand new school supplies can be hard to come by for many families. Even though Helena is an impoverished town and has its struggles and challenges, my students are motivated to succeed - and they will, with the right tools! This is where you come in :) Growing up I never had to worry about having everything that I needed to succeed, both before school began and even when school started. My teachers had the supplies and materials that they needed to teach us properly. I hope that we can, together, give the same peace of mind to my students.

With these funds I will purchase consumable supplies such as:

  • 50 binders (for those who have voiced that they cannot afford them)
  • 50 dividers 
  • Box of 144 pencils (x5)

I will purchase science supply kits for engineering/STEM experiments that align with the Next Generation Science Standards. I strongly believe in hands-on learning, and we have very little funding. These supply kits are necessary to keep up with our counterparts!

  • Flinn Scientific: Gases and Gas Laws Package
  • Flinn Scientific: Chemical Bonding Package (x3)
  • Flinn Scientific: Atomic and Electron Structure Package
  • Flinn Scientific: Electron Capture and Photosynthesis (x2)
  • Flinn Scientific: Chemical Reactions Package (x2)
  • Flinn Scientific: Duckweed Population Study (x2)
  • Flinn Scientific Digital Thermometers (15)
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