Funding a brighter future

Anonymous donor matches H.A. Brown fundraiser goal for Google Chromebooks

Students participate in the blended learning program using Google Chromebooks at H.A. Brown Elementary School. PHOTO COURTESY OF CONNIE CARNIVALE

By Melissa Komar

H.A. Brown Elementary School received an unexpected, but welcome gift this holiday season.
On Thursday, Dec. 28, an anonymous individual donated $11,025, the full amount of the school’s goal for its Chromebook campaign on Fund for the School District of Philadelphia.
The nonprofit serves as the school district’s GoFundMe page, acting as the intermediary between Philadelphia public schools and the private sector so that donors can allocate funds directly toward a specific expense or project at a specific school.
Last year, principals at Philadelphia public schools received training in how to create an online fundraiser.
Principals then collaborated with school staff to determine specific areas that needed funding.
The $11,000-plus donation to the Kensington elementary school will go toward the purchase of a Google Chromebook cart and 38 Google Chromebooks.
“Since we’re a blended learning school, we really wanted to make sure that we almost could have that one-to-one correlation for our students and we needed more Chromebooks to do that,” said Connie Carnival, principal at Brown. “This will help to fill that Chromebook cart for kindergarten and help fill up the additional carts we currently have in first through eighth grade.”
Being able to purchase additional Chromebooks means more individual attention for each student.
“For blended learning, the teacher is given an opportunity to do more small group instruction with students,” Carnivale explained. “While one small group is working with the Chromebooks for either online reading or math intervention at their individual level, a teacher can take another group and really focus in and give them small group instruction to enhance their literacy or math skills.”
Carnival worked with the technology department at Brown during the first week of January to finalize the order to purchase the cart and Chromebooks.
The Chromebooks need to be programmed by Dell, but Carnivale estimated the students will be able to use the new Chromebooks by the end of February.
While one of Brown’s goals was met, the school currently has an active campaign on the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia to update its electrical system.
“We still have 20 classrooms that don’t have air-conditioning, unfortunately, but we would need an electrical upgrade to our boxes in order to provide air-conditioning to those classrooms,” Carnival said.
Additionally, Carnivale is participating in the Neubauer Fellowship and is working on a matching grant “to improve the writing program at the school for our K to eighth-grade students,” according to Carnivale.
“Through the Neubauer Fellowship, we’re trying to match a grant for $12,500, and right now we’ve raised about $7,000,” she said. “That will provide us additional training for all the staff and coaching through the Teachers Reading and Writing College in New York. We’ll be able to do two additional professional development days and two additional coaching days.”
The deadline to donate toward the campaign for matching the Neubauer grant is January 2019.
Approximately $5,000 is needed to reach the goal.
While the school still has a high bar to reach for the Neubauer grant, fulfilling its goal for additional Chromebooks will make an immediate impact.
“We are truly grateful and humbled by someone’s generosity for our students because it means so much to support programs that we have seen make growth for our students,” Carnivale said. “We’ve have an increase in our standardized test scores, we’ve had an increase in our reading levels for students reading on grade level by the end of third grade, and we’ve also had an increase in attendance as well as the state’s report card score for us. We really appreciate someone supporting our initiatives for students and our families in the Kensington area.”
To donate toward the writers workshop program at H.A. Brown, which the Neubauer Fellowship will fund if the grant is matched, contact Connie Carnival or Kathy Le, the school advisory council president at Brown, by calling 215–400–7490 or Jacelyn Blank, Friends of H.A. Brown president, by messaging Friends of H.A. Brown on Facebook.
To donate toward Brown’s electrical upgrade or student attendance incentives, visit thefundsdp.org.