UNO COEHD Alumna Gets Kindergarteners New Science Materials

A double alumna of the University of New Orleans College of Education and Human Development receives funding tomorrow to help bring science curriculum materials to kindergarteners in a local charter school.

The kindergartners’ new science curriculum materials come through the Fuel Our Schools program, an innovative collaboration between Chevron oil company and DonorsChoose.org to support education for public schools in based on the specific needs of each classroom. The Fuel Our Schools program highlights Chevron’s commitment to education, particularly in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to help prepare students who may be interested in advanced technical jobs.

Ashleigh Larkin Pelafigue, who focused her undergraduate and graduate COEHD studies on curriculum and instruction, is a kindergarten teacher at Pierre Capdau Charter School in New Orleans. On Tuesday, representatives from Chevron oil company and Donors Choose.org, a nonprofit fundraising and philanthropic organization with the motto “Teachers Ask, You Choose, Students Learn,” will visit Pelafigue’s kindergarten class – and gift them with materials funded through their program, Fuel Our Schools.

During the month of October, motorists can fuel up with eight or more gallons at a participating Chevron or Texaco station and Chevron will donate $1 for each customer, up to $250,000, to directly support eligible classroom projects in St. Tammany, Orleans and Plaquemines parishes.

In early September, individual teachers in these parishes began submitting eligible classroom project requests at DonorsChoose.org, requesting specific supplies and instructional materials needed to support learning in their classrooms.

Pelafigue submitted a project proposal to Donors Choose requesting nearly $1,300 for science exploration tubs and books for her kindergarten classroom in hopes to build her own science curriculum.

“The emphasis of the project was to explain that although we've worked very hard to recover from Katrina, even years later, the materials we once had were never able to be replaced, leaving kindergarten with no science materials,” said Pelafigue in correspondence.

On Tuesday, she will teach her students a brief lesson using the new tools gifted by Chevron through DonorsChoose.org. The session will be attended by Chevron, Donors Choose and Capdau representatives, as well as local media. During the visit, a representative of the New Beginnings charter school system will speak about the Capdau school and the impact of the hurricanes on Capdau, highlighting that the school’s faculty and network pull together to do whatever they can to make students successful.

“The project was written to express the need for science materials, as we have none,” Pelafigue wrote in her application. “Although we are years past Katrina, due to insufficient budgets, student materials that we once had were never able to be replaced therefore teachers are doing the very best we can with very little.”

DonorsChoose.org will use funds from the Fuel Our Schools program, generated throughout the month of October at participating Chevron and Texaco retail locations, to purchase and distribute classroom materials for eligible projects at local public schools.

To track the classroom projects in need of funding and see how much money is being earned for public schools in each city, visit www.FuelYourSchool.com and clicking on your local region tab.