Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Adopt a Texas Classroom - FAQ

Hi all! I have been completely floored by the response to my “Adopt a Classroom” project. Between the sign-ups, emails, messages, comments…I literally can’t do it all. I have a 6 month old at home with me right now, and even if he wasn’t, there’s no way I could keep up with it all on my own! I have been very fortunate to have some great friends offer to jump in and help with matching classrooms and replying to messages.

All that being said, I would love to respond to each email and comment, but it would be completely impossible at this point. This is a GOOD problem to have, because it means so many of you want to help. However, I also feel I should prioritize matching classrooms right now. I want your questions to be answered, so here are some of the most frequently asked questions. If you still don’t find the answer to your question, please reach out.

I want to help, what can I do?
Please, please, please use this link to sign up. I’m not able to go through the comments and emails and match you – going through this form is the only way.

How does this work exactly?
If you are applying to adopt a classroom, please use this form. You will be matched with a teacher and I’ll send you their contact info, a little about their situation, and a list of supplies they need most immediately. After you receive this email, my part is done! You will contact the teacher you matched with and see how you can best help them, and then put together a plan with your students (or group) to help meet their needs.

What am I committing to by signing up? Can you give a rough financial estimate of helping out a classroom?
The only thing you’re committing to is trying to help this classroom in some way. In no way does the teacher expect you to get everything they need. Many have expressed gratitude for absolutely anything to help. Currently, I am able to match 3-4 classrooms who want to help with 1 Texas classroom right now, which is great as they are hopefully able to receive more of what their students need!

I’m not a teacher, can I still sign up to adopt a classroom?
Short answer…yes! We’ve had girl scout troops, churches, running groups, and businesses all sign up. This is wonderful since it’s all about helping the kids who need it!! If you are an individual, considering gathering some friends and family to help so that you are able to maximize your impact on the classroom you adopt. Sign up using the form here, and when it asks for grade/school, just put your group name or “family.”

My grade level/school wants to adopt more than one classroom…or wants to adopt a whole school…
If your grade level wants to adopt more than one classroom, please have each of you apply (or if you want to adopt only 2 classrooms, then please just have 2 of you apply). Then you’ll be matched with classrooms and can work on that as a project together. If your school wants to collectively adopt a school, please put that on the form where it says grade/school…”School adopting school.”

Is this just for schools in Houston?
No, it is for any school in TX deeply affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

How does shipping work?
Shipping is your responsibility, so please keep that in mind when considering what you are collecting.

Is there a list of supplies somewhere?
No. Once you apply, I will work to match you with a classroom. I’ll send you what that teacher has requested as their most immediate needs.

What kinds of things are the teachers needing?
True to a teacher’s heart, most teachers are asking for things for their students, such as hygienic supplies, school uniforms, and backpacks. Basic school supplies are also in demand!

So I need to buy these items and ship them?
You can. Another option is to collect donations and purchase supplies directly from Amazon. They can ship directly to that teacher’s school for you, and you will save greatly on shipping (especially if you have Prime!). You could also send an electronic Amazon giftcard.

Are you confirming that the people applying are teachers in need?
Teachers who apply must use their school district email to apply. I strongly suggest you ship only to their schools as well. Some schools are greatly flooded and won’t be open for a while – just wait until they can accept shipments to send anything. This will ensure that your donations are going exactly where they should be – I completely trust teachers, but there may be others who try to use this as an opportunity to help themselves. Pay attention to the email of the classroom you are matched with, and use your own discretion.

I want to be matched with a school in a certain area, a Catholic school, a first grade classroom, etc. Can you do that?
We are doing our best to roughly match grade levels, or at least primary grades with primary, etc. I have had several requests for teachers to be matched with a certain area, and I would LOVE to make that happen, but to be honest, it is very time consuming. As I type this, we sit at 5,400 submissions. That is A LOT of people to match. Trying to make particular pairings, especially by location, takes a much longer time. We aren’t able to take requests like that right now, I’m sorry. Feel free to reach out to a particular school or area on your own if you have a connection with them! J Please be flexible, as there are a lot of teachers and students who need help!

Are schools able to receive the shipments?
Some schools will be opening on September 5th, and some have not heard yet when they will reopen. This is something you will need to coordinate with the teacher you are matched with!

What is the timeline for getting matched?
We are working through them in the order they are coming in. There are an amazing number of submissions, so it is taking some time. I ask that you please be patient…we are working on it as quickly as we can!! We are hoping within the week at the latest. You will receive an email letting you know you’ve been matched.

I would LOVE to see what you and your classrooms (groups) are doing to help!!! Please use the hashtag #AdoptaTXclassroom to tag your pictures, and feel free to tag me (@sunsandsecondgrade) as well. 

A huge and overwhelming THANK YOU goes out to all of you who are signing up to help. It is an amazing thing to watch people come together like this.

Most importantly, the teachers in TX are going to be doing the real work in the coming weeks and months, as they’ll have lots of broken students coming into their classroom. It takes a special person to be a teacher, but these wonderful men and women will be giving that a whole new meaning. Our hearts and prayers go out to you and your students, and I truly hope you are able to receive some of the help you need.