Dozier's Annual Tech Quest Ends on a High Note!
school year, Dozier Elementary leaders and the tech
committee work to gain technology for classrooms. Grants
are completed each summer, as well as throughout the
year as an ongoing attempt to acquire technology
As with all schools in terms of gaining technology
resources, some years are better than others. This year
has proven to be an exceptional year in gaining
resources since they began their "Eye on Tech" campaign
In the fall of 2013, with the suggestion of
Superintendent Jerome Puyau, district teachers were
encouraged to apply for individual small grants through
the reputable Donorchoose site. DonorsChoose is an
online charity which helps public school teachers post
classroom projects for resources needed. Once grants are
posted on their site, individual donors, businesses and
local supporters can assist by funding projects.
Unfortunately after the entire faculty applied for
individual grants in 2013-2014, none of the Dozier
Elementary projects received funding. So when Puyau
suggested again in the summer of 2014, that Vermilion
Parish teachers try again for a second year, a number of
Dozier educators were a bit apprehensive. However, in
hope that a couple of projects would materialize, the
group opted to try again. On September 1, 2014, all 33
teachers (100% of the faculty) once again were
ready to submit projects for technology resources on the
At that time though, neither Principal Karla Toups nor
her group realized that each one of the thirty three
educators would have no less than one project funded
during the 2014-2015 year. Four educators had one
project funded, while twenty six had two projects
funded. There were two teachers who received funding for
three projects and Librarian Schuyler Poche had four
Poche' was the recipient of three fully funded iPad
grants. She also received a fourth iPad donated to the
library from a community member. Poche's library goal
was to strive for at least four iPads set up in library
centers for students to access eBooks and reading apps.
By April, that goal was met. This past week, Poche' had
her 4th Donorschoose project funded, which will bring a
Windows 8 laptop to the library too.
In addition to Donorschoose proposals, there were a
couple of gains outside of grants. Both community
donations and a contest brought items to the school. Two
teachers won Chromebook computers in a contest with the
parish early in the year. Four educators received
additional iPads and/or tablets that were purchased and
donated by community members.
The top funded items this year were Ipads and computers.
Totals involving technology tools in the nine month span
include 37 new Ipads, 33 computers (31-Windows 8 and
2-Chromebooks), 4 ActivSlates for Promethean Boards,
2 video cameras and counseling resources totaling
Retired teacher Stacy Bodin who helps as part time tech
specialist (and grant writer) has been involved at the
school in different capacities since1982. She stated
that she has "never seen this type of technology gain
within a one year timeframe. This year has been
remarkable!" Bodin noted that "it hasn't been an
easy path, but we've worked really hard the past years
with grants and it is paying off."
In terms of grants, the school basically had three
rounds of grant applications and funding this year. In
the first round, all thirty three teachers submitted
regular Donorschoose projects starting the 1st of
September. The majority of the first round projects were
funded in the fall of 2014.
The second round begin early in 2015. In January, one
Dozier Elementary educator received an "Almost Home"
grant invitation from Donorschoose that was sent to
select teachers. The pilot project sponsored by the Bill
and Melinda Gates Foundation, were funding "Almost Home"
projects for professional development grants. Simply
put, if accepted, the Gates duo would pay for everything
through Donorschoose proposals, but the final $95 to $98
of the Professional Development project. The premise was
that the project funding was "almost home" and the
teachers would have to finish the funding by searching
for donors or sharing information on social media, etc.
This particular pilot program had a different criteria
in terms of regular Donorschoose project stipulations.
Upon submission, the projects were screened. If it met
professional development standards showing continued
growth for educators through the grant, they were then
posted online. At that time, the teacher had to find
donors to complete the project. There was an additional
bonus which helped. If they received final funding
within the first seven days, a half off code was offered
which helped out bringing the initial $95-$98 to below
$49 if the teacher was funded during the first week it
was online. Though not all at Dozier received the
invitation email to apply for this grant, all were
encouraged by school leaders to try and submit
proposals. A group of fourteen applied and were
immediately funded with the new "Almost Home" pilot
program. Shortly after the fourteen received funding,
the national "Almost Home" grant met its quota of
entries and the grant itself shifted to what was called
the "Half Off" grant.
The third and final phase included Donorschoose and the
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation again. Once the
"Almost Home" pilot program ended, the two groups then
offered the professional development " Half Off " grant.
Though the groups were no longer paying the majority of
the grant, they would still help by paying half. At that
time, seeing how helpful these grants were for the
school's technology quest, Principal Karla Toups
encouraged that those who had not tried for the "Almost
Home" grant apply for Windows 8 computers through the
Donorschoose and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
"half off" grant. Twenty educators submitted
applications at that time. The majority of those were
funded in March, April and May.
At the end of May, school leaders decided to use
technology grant money from groups like the Erath 4th of
July and others to fund a few final " Half Off " grants
which had not received funding. The reason was simple.
With half off of the projects online, the school could
gain more computers and laptops at cheaper prices while
this grant was still in place. The year ended on a high
note, with a grand total of sixty six projects funded
through Donorschoose from September 1, 2014 until May
28, 2015. A far cry from having no projects funded the
prior year. Bodin shared that "with grants, funding
always varies from year to year. That is to be expected,
but the past two years has definitely shown both ends of
a spectrum for us."
Principal Karla Toups ended saying, "We had an
amazing year receiving technology resources thanks to
generous donors, the Donorschoose group and the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation. We are truly grateful to all
who have helped us with our journey!"