New Program Helps Fill Classrooms - NBC Connecticut

New Program Helps Fill Classrooms



    New Program Helps Fill Classrooms
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    A new program is giving Hartford teachers a way to earn money to help build their classrooms.

    Multiplication math bingo is a favorite in Mrs. Lisa Kozlowski's class. But interactive games like that don't run cheap. 

    “It can be very expensive to do the things we want to do with the students,” said the teacher.

    Luckily, Mrs. Kozlowski had some help courtesy of "Evolution Benefits" of Avon -- a debit card technology company founded by Chairman and CEO Bob Patricelli.

    “He had an ah-ha! moment where he thought, 'Why don't we use the debit cards to help teachers pay for materials in their classrooms that will help children learn?', and from that, teacher dollars was born,” said Lynda Godkin with Evolution Benefits.

    This year, 13 Hartford public schools including the Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts, were awarded the "Teacher Dollars" card.  At each school, every teacher, family resource aide and principal gets their own individual $200 to spend.

    The money goes a long way -- from flash cards to spiral notebooks, schools can now purchase extra items that help students.

    “It doesn’t get any better. It’s a gift,” said Principal Pamela Totten-Alvarado. She is proud to note that her school, Kinsella Magnet is a three time "Teacher Dollars" recipient.  In order to be selected for the card, schools must demonstrate significant gains in academic achievement including positive results on state mastery tests.

    The program gives teachers a pat on the back for what they do, and in turn, Mrs. Kozlowski can reward her students for a job well done.

    “The money really helps build a classroom,” she said. “From before, it was you either look for outside resources on your own or you did without and for all of our staff its all about the child and what we can do for our children and their learning,” said Totten-Alvarado.

    Hartford public schools will be awarded $100,000 in all this year.  The awards ceremony for the 13 receiving schools will be held at Kinsella Magnet School on Monday September 21.  If you'd like to help donate to the Teacher Dollars program click here.