RKA English teacher discovers math problem


To keep pace with technology and more efficient learning for students, the price tag could add up to $10,000.

That’s according to Abbey Hope, who teaches English at Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy M.S./H.S. 141, because that’s what it will cost to purchase 35 iPads, a wireless printer and a secured rolling cart.

Instead of going to the school district, Hope instead has turned to the community itself.

She’s set up a page at GoFundMe, a crowdsourcing platform that lets anyone in the world donate with just the click of a mouse.

And the iPads will certainly be useful — with these tablet computers, her students could research on the internet, check email, and use some of the thousands of educational applications that are available to them.
Hope and other members of her English department at RKA have tossed around the idea of applying for grants to get at least a mobile cart full of portable devices, and quickly decided they would want to ensure every student in class could use one at the same time.

“I felt like the most significant thing I could do for our students was to try to get them this technology,” she said.

Right now, only students in RKA’s technology classes have designated computers for use, while more than a dozen desktop computers are available for more general work. However, since RKA serves more than 1,400 middle and high school students, scheduling time for a class is difficult to reserve.

“Technology proficiency is huge for students today, and I have seen that many students have much more access than ours do,” Hope said. While some students can research information on their smartphones, not everyone has the same access or data plan to do it.

English classes are a lot about essay writing, she said, which requires a lot of drafts and rewrites. The iPads would enable teachers to provide feedback more efficiently, while saving the environment a bit by cutting down on paper.

In addition to assisting students in her English classes, Hope said the iPads would be used for extracurricular activities like creating and publishing the school’s literary magazine, Write to Roar.

Education is becoming more and more technology-based, and iPads are a step in that direction, said incoming RKA senior Lucas Barusek. It would provide students like him time for individual research when working on papers.

“I was able to use iPads only once last year in my science class, and it only increased the learning experience and helped the kids understand the material much better,” Barusek said.

Jazmine Kerr just graduated, but said having iPads for every student there would have made group presentations easier to complete.

It also would have allowed her classmates, technology wise, to keep pace with better- funded private schools, at least when it came to technology.

Kerr took part in a summer internship program with Deutsche Bank where the technology gap has become apparent — She didn’t know programs like Microsoft’s spreadsheet program Excel.

“The kids from these schools got … better reviews,” she said. “The repercussions of not having technology are not only seen in the classroom, but the real world as well.”

To date, educators nationwide have used the GoFundMe website to create nearly 72,000 campaigns in support of teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade, raising nearly $34 million, according to GoFundMe spokesman Bartlett Jackson In New York State, educators created more than 2,500 campaigns, received nearly 30,000 donations and secured $1.7 million in funding.

Hope raised nearly $900 since starting the campaign some three weeks ago. Even if she doesn’t meet the $10,000 goal, the teacher said she’ll use what she raises to at least begin purchasing iPads. For example, $2,600 buys a pack of 10 for the English department.

Hope has taught for 14 years, and is about to enter her fourth year at RKA. For her, the campaign also is a life lesson for her students on setting goals, effectively communicating a message, and sometimes asking for the community’s help.

“Technology proficiency is huge for students today, and I have seen that many students have much more access than ours do,” Hope said. “I just want them to be able to compete on a level playing field.”