Chevron, in partnership with Donorschoose.org, delivered science equipment to Global Family Elementary School in East Oakland this week.
Oakland A’s mascot Stomper shelled out boxes filled with K’NEX solar kits, safety goggles, water PH test kits, and molymod educational models to excited students.
These items fit right in to the very heart of the project-based curriculum at the bilingual school. Educators focus on hands-on learning, maintaining core lessons based on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
The K’NEX sets and molymod models help students create scale replicas of molecules, and apply concepts of engineering.
During her speech, veteran educator Eva Beleche explained that these kids need a way to apply math and science to the outside world. With these new educational tools, students will test local creek water and water from the bay, effectively localizing their scientific studies.
The donation to the class also helps out Beleche’s wallet, who said that in the past, she has spent close to $485 on school supplies. Luckily, thanks to programs like this, she hasn’t had to spend that much every year.
“Increasing taxes would help, but we are already overtaxed,” she said. She adds that it helps when “these big corporations take an interest in our kids…because they are the future workers. If we don’t invest in our own kids, where are we going to be in 10 or 15 years?”
The story is similar for other K-5 educators in Oakland. Many have spent close to $485 dollars a year for school supplies, and Donorschoose.org has become an invaluable stop gap measure.
Science teacher Brenda Tuohy, who’s been teaching for 12 years, says that she has easily spent more than that on class supplies, but stopped keeping track because it was disheartening.
Tuohy said, “The kids’ learning experiences are severely limited when they don’t have more access to the equipment necessary to engage in learning in a lot of different modalities.”
On the other hand, Lency Olsen, teacher of 10 years, somewhat disagrees with the postulate that hands-on learning is most effective, but agrees that supplies spur education.
“I do think good teaching can happen with almost nothing, but I do think that it can bring a lesson to life to have supplies and resources, and it can make the learning [process] so much more exciting, fun, and memorable for the kids,” Olsen said.
Members of the community are urged by Chevron and Donorschoose.org to get involved with education and make it possible for kids to succeed in future economies.
Participating Chevron and Texaco stations will donate one dollar (up to $1 million) with every fill-up of at least eight gallons until Oct. 31 to the Fuel Your School program. Since 2010, the program has funded 17,163 projects at 3,196 schools nationwide.
Donorschoose.org accepts target specific donations of as little as one dollar, and is tax-refundable. The charity organization has reached over 12 million students across the U.S.