A suggestion during a Marshall Elementary faculty meeting with his special educators led to new playground equipment and happy children who are able to enjoy the fruits of their teachers’ labor.
Principal Dr. Fletcher Harges said he held a meeting with his faculty and asking what they wanted for this school year. Fourth grade inclusion teacher Leah Garrett suggested new swings for the playground. After the suggestion was made, Harges asked how the project could go from conception to actual execution.
Third grade inclusion teacher Tiffany McCaleb told Harges she could try to find funding for the project.
“He looked at me and said ‘You’re going to try?’” McCaleb said. “And I said, ‘I will try.’”
Harges, McCaleb and Garrett all agree the school needed new swings for their playgrounds.
The new swings are still metal but have plastic casing on them. “It makes them a lot more safe,” Harges said.
So, McCaleb got to work, creating a project through a site for public education teachers called DonorsChoose.org.
To get started on DonorsChoose.org, McCaleb said a teacher began a project on the site and citizens donated to the cause. A corporate sponsor matches donations up to $50, for each donation. McCaleb’s goal was $1,396.
To complete the project, McCaleb said a purpose behind the project must be explained.
“My ‘why’ was because friendships formed on the playground translate to the academic setting. Kids who play together, stay together. When children make friends at recess, those same friends offer assistance in class through peer tutoring, paired reading and group work.”
She said she called her project Swings equal success.
“DonorsChoose.org has a marketplace and you choose all the material you needed to achieve your goal,” she said.
McCaleb said she went to the marketplace and choose the items she needed to complete her goal of getting three new sets of swings.
The website helps teachers obtain things for their school and classrooms without going in their own pockets. There are two more teachers in the Carroll County School District who have started projects on DonorsChoose.org.
At Marshall Elementary, a kindergarten teacher is seeking funding for play equipment for her classroom, and a teacher at J.Z. George is seeking funding to provide Gatorade for her student athletes.
McCaleb said she began the project Aug. 6. After she created the project, donations began pouring in. McCaleb received donations from Cox Western Auto, Jerry and Mary Glenda Hoover, McCaleb Legal, PLLC., Triple Stop Inc. and Edward Williams, Sugar Mullins, Michele and Rex Whiteaker and Rex’s sister Sherry, Christye Sanders, Stacye Davis, Guy’s Catfish and Steakhouse, County Barn Restaurant, Jon and Gwen Neil, Melissa Wiggins, Cathy Carpenter, and she put in money herself for the project.
McCaleb said that all the donors donating to the purchase of new swings are helping to make Marshall Elementary “the greatest school in the world,” which is what Harges
By Aug. 13, she had the funding for her project and on Aug. 18, the swings were installed.
“She could have did this for her classroom alone, but she thought about the entire school,” Harges said.
She said when she received the message that they would get the materials needed to install the swings, she called Garrett.
“I called Mrs. Garrett and told her thank you, this happened because of her idea,” McCaleb said.