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An AAE grant advances the classroom
posted by: Tamia | July 21, 2020, 08:40 PM   

Today's guest blog was written by Ms. Samantha Vargas, an English language teacher from New Jersey.


My students needed more access to culturally representative books. I teach at a charter school in Jersey City, New Jersey that has a large percentage of students who qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. Therefore, it is my goal to cultivate the reading community I’m building. However, I cannot do this without a current classroom library that caters to the different ability levels and interests in my classes. I have been purchasing books for my kids, but it is not enough for all of my students and the process is slow, often one book at a time. 


I applied for the AAE grant because I needed financial support with this project. I applied on the website, and found the application to be fairly straightforward. My grant proposal explained the needs of my project and my students, I attached an itemized list of resources I wished to purchase with the grant money, and then uploaded my current resume detailing my roles and responsibilities at the school.


I heard back from AAE later with the very exciting news that I received the grant! AAE released an article about me along with a headshot, and the grant resources were shipped to the school shortly after. The last step was to fill out the reimbursement form online that was sent to me, which was also fairly simple to complete, so my school could receive the grant money.


Since the books arrived, I have implemented independent reading time, about 3-4 hours a week, with all of my classes: accelerated and un-accelerated. I have independent reading time so that they can continue reading with the aim of hitting 40 books read by the end of the year. Thus, I’m quite pleased with my experience with the AAE grant program; I urge you to apply to help your own students!

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