Teacher empowers students with the help of IPSEF and DonorsChoose.org


Julia Phoebus, a teacher at Frederick Douglass School 19, is another teacher who has greatly benefitted from IPS Education Foundation matching grants through DonorsChoose.org. This year, she was able to get books and supplies for her classroom and supplies to run an after school cooking class for students at her school.

Phoebus says, “I am always overwhelmed when those in the community (near and far) support what is happening in the classroom. The items that have been funded will enable me to create a space for my students to be able to enjoy writing with all the tools necessary for them to be successful.”

Phoebus got full sets of two books for her classroom, Chew on This and Phineas Gage, which her students have really enjoyed. Her students also received writing notebooks, highlighters and other tools to help her students engage with their material and get more involved with what they’re reading.

“It gives the students ownership of what they’re learning when they can use their highlighters and mark up what they’re reading,” she says.

Phoebus also holds a weekly cooking club for her eighth graders, which the students have really enjoyed. Through DonorsChoose.org, she was able to provide quality supplies to the cooking club that they could keep at school.

“Before, I had some people give me supplies because they thought it was cool, and I would bring half my kitchen, which got really frustrating for me,” she said.

After putting the project up on DonorsChoose.org and a matching grant from IPSEF, Phoebus was able to raise enough money for a new set of kitchen supplies, and they could keep the supplies at school. Phoebus also says this has helped teach her students responsibility and give them more confidence.

“I tell them, ‘These are your dishes now, we need to know how to clean them and where they go.’ It also makes them more confident in following the recipes,” she said.

Phoebus has had multiple projects funded through DonorsChoose.org, and several of them have been completed through matching grants from the IPS Education Foundation. She says this makes it so much easier to get goals funded and to provide these materials for her classroom.

“If the Foundation is funding half of the project, it’s easier to ask friends and family to donate,” she said. “As a donor you feel like you’re making more of an impact.”