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Educators help schools recovering from Harvey

By Julie Randles
September 6, 2017
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Educators are a special breed. They’re serial collaborators, tireless doers and passionate problem-solvers. They put students and their colleagues first, whether right on campus or half a country away after one of the nation’s worst storms.

Educators and education supporters have launched dozens of efforts to support teachers and families affected by Hurricane Harvey and post-storm flooding. The ideas and options are as innovative as the big thinkers behind them.  

Anna Baker, library media specialist at Bear Creek Elementary in Houston, Texas, started an Amazon wish list of items needed by the schools’ families. Anyone can purchase items from the list, which will be delivered to the school – once the roads are clear – for distribution to families in need. 

She’s also pointing supporters to the Hurricane Harvey Reading Club on Facebook where there’s a book drive to gather books for classroom libraries and student home libraries. Search “book drive” to participate.

Michael Flood, vice president for strategy at Kajeet, has worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and school district leaders to create a series of education broadband kits. The devices are designed to reconnect school facilities – even if they are portable classrooms, temporary campuses and shelters – to displaced students and staff. They can also provide connectivity on buses for students who will be traveling longer distances to get to class because their schools have been closed.

“FEMA has been very supportive about getting these broadband connections back up and running using recovery funds,” Flood wrote in a discussion thread on ISTE Commons. “But getting the message out to those in need is difficult, especially if those most in need aren’t well connected.”

For more information on obtaining broadband kits, contact Flood at

Below is a roundup of additional efforts that support the education community and families affected by Harvey:

Adopt a Classroom initiative. ISTE affiliate Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) started this initiative that will match people with an educator in need.

Hurricane Harvey Teachers in Need. This is a public Facebook group where you can adopt a classroom or request assistance.  

KidLit Cares online talent auction. Agents, editors, authors and illustrators have donated services to be auctioned to the highest bidder, with funds raised going to the Red Cross or Global Giving. Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund. This effort supports classroom projects at schools impacted by flooding.

Harmony Public Schools GoFundMe. This fund will benefit the 12,000 students affected in the Harmony district.

Houston Independent School District. The Houston district, the seventh largest in the U.S., is accepting donations of new and unused clothing, shoes, underwear, socks, uniforms, school supplies, canned food and water. 

PledgeCents Hurricane Harvey Relief & Support campaign. This fund helps students and families in collaboration with KIPP Houston Public Schools, YES Prep Public Schools, Spring Branch Independent School District and others.

Principals Helping Principals. This is a Google spreadsheet where Houston-area administrators are sharing contact information and supplies needs.