‘Tis the season to deck the house for a chance to win free electricity for a month and $100,000 for your local school district.
The Dec. 26 deadline for Patch’s national holiday decoration contest is fast approaching, so you’d better put out the robotic reindeer, because Elk Grove Education Association President Maggie Ellis has already asked Santa for a few big-ticket items.
Librarians and more technology in the classrooms are at the top of Ellis’ wish list.
“The things schools need right now are so expensive, and a lot of it is technology-based. There is such a discrepancy between schools,” said Ellis, a fifth-grade teacher at Caroll Elementary School.
Elmos – interactive document readers not furry, red Sesame Street monster - are the most sought-after tool among teachers these days. In Elk Grove, some schools have them and some don’t.
“Elmos in combination with projectors have brought a whole new level to our ability to teach,” Ellis said. “You can put a book under the camera, and all the kids can see it, versus holding it up and panning the room.
“It’s allowed us more access to things on the Internet and saves us from running copies and transparencies … It really impacts your way of teaching. It changes everything.”
Combined, a new Elmo and projector can cost between $3,000 and $4,000. Some teachers are even shelling out their own money to buy older models on eBay.
“I almost had one, but someone outbid me by fifty bucks,” Ellis said.
If expensive, new technology is out of reach, then Ellis said the money could be used to reopen school libraries.
Budget cuts have forced many California districts to lay off librarians and close school libraries or drastically reduce hours.
“We’re halfway through the year and some school libraries haven’t opened,” Ellis said. “That’s a sad thing.
“…What’s a school without a library? When we invest thousands of dollars into library books and let our libraries go stagnant, that’s a shame. We can’t teach reading without giving kids access to a library.”
Click here and enter Patch's contest if for no other reason than to help kids.
Here’s how it works: Now through Dec. 26, you can nominate your home by uploading a photo to the contest entry form on the site. During that same time period you and your neighbors will also be able to vote for your favorite festive home. The winning entry will be forwarded to a national Patch judge that will select 24 finalists. Each finalist will receive $500 that they can apply to their December electric bill.
From Dec. 30 through Jan. 8 you will be able to vote for the Best Decked House in all of Patch. The grand prize winner’s school district will receive a $100,000 check from Patch.
Be sure to vote for these Elk Grove entries.
If you’ve got any questions, post them below and we’ll share the answers with everyone in town. Click here for full .
Note: To enter, you must live in a Patch ZIP code. For this site, that means 95624, 95758 or 95757.