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DonorsChoose Gives Back to Aguilar Students

Post Date:05/22/2020 2:20 PM

Boy with bookDuring school closures as a result of COVID-19, many organizations have been finding ways to support students and their families during unprecedented times. DonorsChoose, a nonprofit organization that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects, recently kicked off a pilot program to give back to teachers so that they are able to support their students while they are not in school. 

The Keep Kids Learning Pilot Program empowers teachers to shop for urgent and essential items — from pre-approved items available on either or — to get their students what they need.  

First-Grade Teacher Heather Smalley and Kindergarten Teacher Marana Carr from Aguilar Elementary were both recipients of the Keep Kids Learning Pilot Program.Both teachers were awarded $1,000 gift cards to Walmart to fulfill the list of items that would be beneficial to give to their students during this time of school closures. 

two students with yahtzee and board game“Shopping for my students was very exciting!” said Carr. “I grabbed two shopping carts, knowing that I was going to be able to fill both of them to the rim!” 

“It was beyond amazing to have this opportunity to purchase these items for my students and their families,” Smalley added. “When a couple people asked me in Walmart what I was buying everything for, I was excited to tell them about the DonorsChoose funding and that everything was for my students.”

Items that Carr and Smalley purchased for their students included art and school supplies (pencils, highlighters, scissors, glue, markers, construction paper, folders, workbooks), personal care items (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, and soap), and games (board games and card games).  

girl with board game and book

On Wednesday, May 20, every child in Carr and Smalley’s classrooms was given a bag with a mix of educational and essential items so that they could continue learning and growing over the summer. 

“It has been very hard not seeing my students and hearing their stories in person,” said Smalley. “I miss the hugs and high-fives. I miss hearing them read or helping a friend with a math problem. This donation has given me a way to help them bridge the gap between school and home.” 

“As a teacher, being away from school, students and colleagues has been a hard transition. I have been a teacher for 22 years and love it!” Carr added. “The school closure has brought uncertainty to many and I believe that the Keep Kids Learning donations will help keep my students busy during the summer break.”

boy with markers and board gameFor this pilot period, funds were directed specifically to eligible teachers at schools where the majority of students receive free and reduced lunch, the benchmark for need in United States public schools. As DonorsChoose learns more about the program and gets more funding to support its expansion, they hope to open it up to additional public school teachers across the United States.

Thank you DonorsChoose for providing this opportunity for teachers to better support their students during this time! To learn more about DonorsChoose, please visit