Elementary School In Phoenix Uses Crowdfunding To Purchase Education Supplies

By Claire Caulfield
Published: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 - 4:41pm
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(Photo by Claire Caulfield - KJZZ)
Jeni Vargas helps a student find synonyms for a vocabulary word using a new dictonary.

Sunnyslope Elementary school recently received two sets of brand-new dictionaries via a crowdfunding campaign.

Jeni Vargas, the Seventh and Eighth-grade language arts teacher, teamed up with Kendra Tollackson, a former teacher, to create a Go Fund Me campaign called Dialing for Dictionaries. In the campaign, they asked for $953, just enough to buy 90 brand-new dictionaries.

“We’ve always had hand-me-down or donated dictionaries that are outdated,” Vargas said.

Before the new set of dictionaries arrived, the students were using a small set of outdated dictionaries that were falling apart.

“We used our teacher’s phone to look up words,” said Jorge Jimenez, an eighth-grader in Vargas’ class.

Washington Elementary School District has proposed budget overrides in the past, but they have all failed. Tollackson said schools in more affluent neighborhoods have active PTA groups that are able to raise funds, and she said she’s glad this campaign was able to fill that gap. However, she said it is not enough.

“I think it’s not a solution to the systemic problems we have in Arizona related to public education,” Tollackson said.

“We never get anything new, so this is a big deal for us to acquire brand new, quality, second-edition dictionaries,” Vargas said while she looked over her class. “I’m really excited about it.”

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