Pflugerville teacher rounds up big donations from businesses for essential at-home learning devices


PFLUGERVILLE, Texs (KXAN) — Pflugerville bilingual teacher Margaret Olivarez spent her summer sending emails to large businesses asking them to #PleaseHelpATeacherOut.

In the email to CEOs, Olivarez wrote:

As an educator I am deeply concerned by the daily rise in Covid 19 cases. Educators have to once again prepare for a school year that will include in class and online instruction. The teachers at Copperfield Elementary, a Title One school located in North East Austin, TX., use their own funds to buy supplies for their students.

Texas teachers do not receive stipends for supply purchases. Our Title One designation means that the majority of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch based on their family income.
Many of our parents are employed in various service industry jobs that either remain closed or operating under reduced hours as a result of COVID-19. These parents are now encountering so many financial challenges that educational technology devices needed for online instruction are not in their budgets.

Our students must remain academically active to achieve educational growth.

Would you be kind enough to sponsor 5 students, or entire class of 22, or a grade level of 80 with a Chromebook, iPad, or Fire tablet? Any donation would be much appreciated. Thank you so much for your consideration. #PleaseHelpATeacherOut

Margaret Olivarez

The emails worked.

Soon Olivarez received more than 100 devices, fire tablets and Chromebooks. Businesses also donated money to help Copperfield Elementary students. State Farm Insurance has donated between $6,000-$8,000, representative Felicia Hutchins said.

“My students did not have the technology needed when the pandemic closed us down in March,” Olivarez said. She wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again, “when you have a house hold with 4 or 5 children it wasn’t easy for every child to get their work done on one device.”

The need was incredible, says Copperfield Elementary Principal Georgie Arenaz.

“We have approximately 570 students and about 85% of those students qualify for free and reduced lunch, so on March 13 when classes were suspended or traditional schooling was suspended, it was really shocking about the digital divide.”

Olivarez received enough donations and collected up to $30,000 through her determination.

“All that money is going to be used to buy devices so every child will have a device in their hands at Copperfield,” she said.

Businesses like State Farm say they were inspired and decided to further help the students by creating a back to school supply drive for people to make donation.

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