“I have too much money to spend on classroom supplies,” said no teacher ever.
So, unless your school is swimming in cash, the following may be helpful.
For these tips we turned to one of our favorite anatomy teachers, Debbi Warren. (She has been featured recently on the blog, here.)
Debbi can empathize with all teachers who are working within a strict budget. In fact, the first time she spotted the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System, she was at an NSTA (National Science Teachers of America) meeting in Reno. At the time, Debbi only had $600 from the school to spend on classroom supplies.
But Debbi thought if the school could see the learning system, eyes would open. So she bought one single model (with her own money) and brought it back to the classroom.
Debbi puts it this way: “They were like oh my goodness.”
The kids got it—and Debbi transformed that excitement into good fundraising.
Today, Debbi teaches in two different schools and has a large inventory of Maniken® models to use.
So here are a few tips you may use to help generate financial support above and beyond what the school provides:
Back to School Night
Build a display with one model and appeal to your parents for their help. You may have many parents in the health care fields (or related fields like emergency responders, sports medicine, body workers, etc.) who will instantly understand the benefits of the learning system and who might underwrite a purchase. Of course, coordinate with your principal and school bookkeeper on where the money goes and is accounted for; make sure your benefactors receive receipts to benefit their taxes!
Write a Grant
Your school may have a grant writer. Or your district. There are many sources of grants, including Perkins Grant funding, national and state organizations that back STEM education, even your state department of education might have a grant program that supports career and technical innovation. If your school serves a low socio-economic population, there might be additional pools of funding available
Get your parents behind your plans and help them understand your needs. Enlist some help to demonstrate how your school will save money in the long run by buying equipment that be reused (and reused again and again) and show that you won’t be dissecting cats. Many parents will really appreciate this, for many reasons. Whether you have a PTA or a PTO, find out how they make decisions about what school-related efforts they choose to support. Then, develop a presentation. (You might even find a general video on our YouTube page that you could play for them). Or you could do a demonstration with a model and some clay, too. Bring in your students, show how easily they take to working with their hands.
Does your school have a dual-enrollment program that allows high schoolers to take college-level courses and receive college credit before they have received their high school diploma? If so, dig deeper. Some of these programs may include direct support for underwriting your hard costs. Even a small percentage can add up over time. Don’t let a funding stream go unclaimed!
Thank Every Supporter
You might consider naming rights! Put a little brass plaque on the base of your MANIKEN®. “This model brought to you by _____. Thank you!” Write an article for the school newsletter to publicize the names of all your benefactors. Or attend your local school board meeting and give them a shout-out. And, of course, thank them (and tag) them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all social media where your school hangs out. Finally, have your students write a letter of thanks and include photos of the students working on their models. The personal touch can be renewed funding the next time you ask!
Tell A Story
At every chance you get, tell the Anatomy in Clay® story within your school community and include your appeal for support. Chances are your school or district is looking for colorful, visual, cutting-edge stories about what students are doing (and the hands-on activity always makes for great photos or videos). It might be something as simple as bringing a brief presentation to your school board and putting out the word. You never know who might be listening—or watching.
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