Bethany Cruz of Yakima, Washington, is a first-grade general education teacher at Simcoe Elementary, a school with 100 percent of the students receiving free/reduced price meals and serving members of the Yakama Nation.
“We are a poverty-stricken area– which means most students do not come with needed school supplies,” she told us in her Dreamstarter Teacher application. “Although I do go purchase classroom sets myself it would be so helpful to have help with that.
“I feel that all my students need equal materials to learn despite cultural, financial, or economic status.”
She told us that some of her students arrive on the first day of classes with little to no school supplies – along with the fear of embarrassment for being unprepared.
But with her $1,000 Dreamstarter Teacher grant, Bethany was able to purchase school supplies as well as backpacks for all of her nearly two dozen students.
“This enabled students to have everything they needed to have a successful school year,” she reported.
“The long term impact was creating a welcoming environment for the students to come to school with. Heading into second grade, I am confident that they have the skills to be successful with or without school supplies.
“I spent so much time building a strong community of learners and couldn’t have done it without your help.
“By being able to provide them a sense of equality, community, and belonging set the tone for a great school year! I feel it impacted all of my students equally.”