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San Francisco teacher turns to crowdfunding

posted Sep 11, 2014, 1:13 AM by J Shaw   [ updated Sep 11, 2014, 1:15 AM ]

Teachers are using crowdfunding to help local students.

If you look inside Grey Todd's 6th grade classroom at Presidio Middle School you’ll see computers on every single one of the 32 desks. Todd told KTVU "This is the only classroom in the school besides the computer lab that does have one for every single student."

The reason his students have computers is because he helped pay for them. For the last couple of years the sixth grade teacher has been trying to get his classroom more technology.

He started by buying used computers." Last year I spent almost $7,000 of my own money and the year before that about $5,000."

But this year he realized he needed new computers and so over the summer he started trying to raise money for 32 new computers that cost $500 each.

Todd says, "If you want to go there at the pace I want to go there you just have to take the initiative."  Taking the initiative meant trying something new and so he turned to the fundraising website GoFundMe.

According to the GoFundMe website, Todd is part of a growing trend.

Back In 2010 there were 135 campaigns that were classified as part of the education category. Now in 2014 that category has more than 100,000 campaigns.

Presidio Middle School Principal Tony Payne says he is glad to have a teacher who is as passionate as Todd. He says the school and the district are committed to getting new technology to the classroom but it takes time and money and educators are now trying to think outside of the box.

Payne told KTVU the school has recently been able to add iPads to the curriculum thanks to a partnership with Salesforce.

Payne says the company has "given each middle school principal $100,000 to innovate as we saw fit."  That money could go towards starting new programs like a robotics club or even to helping Mr. Todd pay for all those computers.

The new computers are in Todd's classroom but if you check his fundraising page you will see that he hasn't quite reached his goal. Todd told KTVU, "By the time I got to the first week of August and I was still $8,500 short I just put it on my credit card."

He is hoping to raise enough money to pay that credit card off, but he also says he has paid from his own pocket before and for him this is one math lesson that isn't just about the numbers.

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