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    DonorsChoose.org benefitting local teachers and students

    6:49 PM, Feb 21, 2014   |    comments
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    Little Rock News:

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Pencils, erasers and crayons are school supplies you expect to see in an elementary school classroom, but with budget cuts, some students won't have them unless they're donated.

    Teachers are having to come up with creative ways to get students what they need. One website is generating millions of dollars for teachers and some of that money is benefitting students right here in Little Rock.

    "Pushups," said Amare Patrick. "Situps. Jumping jacks too."

    In 7-year-old Amare Patrick's words, you exercise in order to be strong. Students at Mabelvale Elementary School only have PE class for one hour, once a week. For the past six years, Stacy Burnett has been teaching PE at Mabelvale Elementary School.
    "I get to play to with kids, 99.9 percent of them want to be in PE class," said Burnett.

    Most of the time, Burnett's PE class is outside. But when the weather is not cooperating, Burnett has to teach PE in a classroom because Mabelvale Elementary does not have a gym. Burnett says she used to have her own classroom to teach in, but with enrollment growth, the school needed to turn her classroom into another academic space.

    "I was thinking we needed more activities to be able to do in small spaces," said Burnett.

    Burnett said the school does not have extra money to pay for equipment the kids could use indoors. She is asking for help to buy things such as bowling kits and fitness cards by using the website, DonorsChoose.org. She found out about the website from a colleague who teaches art at her school.

    "She was telling me about the website," said Burnett. "I listened to her, and then I started seeing boxes come in. Her project got funded. Then another project got funded, and I thought oh ok this really works."

    DonorsChoose.org is a place where teachers working in high poverty schools can ask for donations to get what they need to help their students succeed.

    "Every student in the school gets free breakfast/free lunch," said Burnett. "When I came here six years ago to this school, we had one of the highest obesity rates in the school district, in Little Rock School District, at this school."
    Every year, her goal is to get that number down.

    "As PE teachers, we have to focus on teaching things that they can take home," said Burnett.

    And it's students, like Amare, that keep Burnett doing everything she can for them.
    "His little eyes light up, it turns a bad day into a good day really quick," said Burnett.

    DonorsChoose.org has raised more than $200 million and has helped more than 11 million students throughout the country. If you'd like to help Stacy Burnett, just click here.

    And if you'd like to check out the projects of other teachers, just go to donorschoose.org.

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