Tools for Schools

Article excerpt

Grades 9-12

Let's Get Them Ready!

Students in the Northeast United States are taking advantage of a free program called Let's Get Ready that helps low-income teenagers work the college admissions system. With a vision of a world where students from all socioeconomic backgrounds have equal access to the support they need to reach higher education, Let's Get Ready offers students help filling out college applications, writing essays, practicing interviews and preparing for the SAT. According to their website ( Let's Get Ready accomplishes this mission by," mobilizing and training college student volunteers to be the X'oaches, " mentors and role-models who provide not only SAT instruction and college admissions guidance, but the encouragement and inspiration students need to succeed.

Currently, Let's Get Ready runs 63 programs throughout the northeast serving about 2,560 students with the assistance of over 1,000 college volunteers. Other impressive statistics include:

* Guiding more than 13,000 under-served students through the college process.

* Training and supporting 5,000 college student volunteers with outstanding; results.

* Getting more than 90% of their students to go directly to college after high school.

* Having many Let's Get Ready high school students later return to the program to become coaches and site directors.

* Helping students increase their SAT scores by an average of 112 points.

For more information on how your students can participate or how you can get involved, head to


It's All About Student Artwork at Artsonia

Artsonia was founded by Jim Meyers and Eric Meidel in 2000. Piece by piece, Artsonia emerged as an online art gallery for student work, providing a new way for families to be more involved with a child's creativity and also a way for art teachers to raise funds to help purchase supplies for their classrooms.

The site currently has over 13 million pieces of artwork on display, representing students in approximately 130 countries.

Participation in Artsonia is free, and users may submit as few or as many pieces of art as they like. One basic feature is that any child can be a "published artist," which enhances self-esteem and encourages families to become more involved in the classroom. Family and friends can then sign up for their favorite artist's fan club. They will receive email notifications when new artwork has been published. To date, nearly 3 million family members and friends of artists are fan club members.

At any time, family and friends can purchase keepsakes imprinted with their child's artwork (limited to U.S./Canadian Schools). The gift shop is always available, which allows funds to be earned both in summer and throughout the school year and Artsonia donates 15 percent of each purchase to the school. Whenever they choose, teachers can see a running total of the funds accumulating and can claim any or all of the funds. Artsonia offers the payout in the form of a check or in gift certificates from either Artsonia or Dick Blick Art Materials. There is no minimum or maximum requirement - if a school earns $1 or $1,000, it will be paid out upon request.

It's really hard to provide exact numbers on the amount of money donated as it varies tremendously from school to school. This large variance however, is one of the unique perspectives of Artsonia. Some schools are in demographics where families are not in a position to make any purchases, yet the self-esteem and pride that children feel when sharing their artwork with the world is a great reward. On the other end of the spectrum, some schools include families that are able to purchase uone of everything" from the gift shop, which helps to sustain the Artsonia program as a whole, so that every school has the opportunity to participate without any membership fees or costs. …