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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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Send AES science team to North American Envirothon

Kelly Laplante

We are students on the the Academy of Environmental Science Envirothon team. Envirothon is a high-caliber academic competition that is centered around bringing awareness to ecosystems and human interactions with the environment.

Our team has successfully competed at the regional and state levels. Now we will be representing the state of Florida at the North American Envirothon competition and are asking for your help to get us there!

While the state competition will cover our entrance fee and room and board, because we were the champion team at the Florida state competition, it is up to us to raise the money for airfare, extra meals, and additional activities. 

This competition will allow us to represent the state of Florida, while applying our knowledge we have gained through hours of studying, after school practices, and classes we have taken. These classes include Advanced Placement Environmental Science, Marine Science I and II, Ecology, Biology, Zoology, and Physical Science.

Be part of the community that sends the AES Florida State Champion Envirothon team to the North American Envirothon competition!

Thank you for your consideration!

Kelly L. - Captain - Senior

Katy K. - Senior

Jason L. - Sophomore

Michelle B. - Sophomore

Bryce L. - Sophomore

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Cultivating a Life of Mindfulness School-Wide

Maura Brown

With these funds I will attend a Breathe For Change Educators Training in Austin, Texas from July 16th and August 1st. Breathe For Change envisions all human beings inspired, educated, and supported to be our best selves in our relationships, our communities, and our world. Breathe For Change unites, trains, and supports educators and change agents to manifest individual and collective well-being in their personal and professional lives. Training participants join an inspiring community of 50 other educators and gain deep knowledge in yoga, mindfulness, and social emotional learning practices. Graduates receive their official 200-hour yoga teacher certification through the Yoga Alliance. 

My hope is to attend this training, which marries yoga and mindfulness practices with the specific needs of educators and their students. In my experience, wellness has not been the forefront of priorities for teachers - and access to these types of services are often out of reach based upon the low teacher-pay in many areas of the United States. Breathe For Change draws upon and contributes to a growing body of research demonstrating the benefits of mind-body wellness practices and social-emotional development for individuals, relationships, and communities. Enhancing the physical, mental, social-emotional well-being of individuals has been shown to have positive impact on their entire communities. In the context of education, prioritizing teacher well-being enhances teaching and learning, which leads to improvements in students' social-emotional and academic outcomes. By doing this myself, I would be able to authentically share this practice with my school community; teachers and students alike. 

I would love to encourage each student to move from just using breathing / mindfulness techniques as a strategy in times of need, to adopting it as a lifestyle. In life, we cannot guarantee an easy ride for anyone. We cannot prevent atrocities from happening. We can, however, equip students to control their reactions to these things and approach the world in a move open, loving way.

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Building The Foundation: Startup Classroom Supplies

Brooke Mayrand

After completing Teach for America’s - 2017 Phoenix 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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