Teacher desperate for help fundraises for new projector

Courtesy photo At New Searles Elementary School in Nashua, fifth-grade students in Jim Hansen’s classroom rely on their classroom projector for lessons, interactive games and to display other key component learning resources. Recently the projector in their classroom broke, and greatly impacted their lessons. Luckily the projector will be replaced with funds raised by parents, teachers and others in the community via DonorsChoose.

NASHUA – It was just another day at New Searles Elementary School in Nashua. Teachers were giving lessons in mathematics, social studies and science, while students were completing classroom work.

And in fifth-grade teacher Jim Hansen’s classroom, students were able to use their classroom projector to interact with their lessons in a way that was different from using just a standard whiteboard and Expo dry erase markers.

However, on this particular day two weeks ago, the projector broke. Hansen was no longer able to deliver his lessons, show student work, display education videos or work with the students to play interactive learning games.

Hansen said the reason why he and other teachers at New Searles are able to have technology in their classrooms is because 10 years ago, New Searles’ former principal applied for and received a large state grant that would cover the purchasing of projectors and ENO boards (interactive whiteboards) for six classrooms. Hansen said through the years, members of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) saw how much more effective this technology was in helping students learn, so they began raising funds and were able to bring more technology into the classrooms of New Searles.

“Our PTO has been really, really good,” Hansen said. “We have things that other schools might not have, and a lot of that has come through the PTO,” Hansen said.

This has changed the face of education at their school. But since Hansen’s board was purchased by a grant, and not through the school district’s budget, the district is not in charge of replacing it. Hansen said the school’s budget was exhausted at the time his projector broke, so he made the decision to use an online fundraising platform. For many years, his classroom was set up to use this projector entirely. And without the projector, it left Hansen scrambling to figure out what he was going to do.

So Hansen set out and created a donation page on DonorsChoose with a goal of $1,067 for a new projector. Within a day, Hansen reached his goal. Donations came in from parents, members of the PTO and others who, Hansen said, believe in giving on Giving Tuesday to support education in the school. On top of this, the Nashua Board of Education and Nashua Teachers’ Union matched every single donation that was made.

Hansen appreciates the support.

“I was excited to see this project funded in one day,” Hansen said. “It was my most expensive project ever and shows the commitment of the parents in my school community, as well as various people from Nashua who came aboard and contributed to support education and the students in our community. It also shows how strong and supportive our PTO is at New Searles Elementary School.”

Hansen said he was glad to see how the Nashua community continues to support the children in their classrooms.

Grace Pecci can be reached at 594-1243, or at gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.