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What We Learned from 270,000 Funded Classroom Projects in 2018

Is it too early to be nostalgic for 2018? We watched Black Panther and cheered on #BestSchoolDay. There was a royal wedding! And, of course,  270,000 classroom projects came to life on DonorsChoose.org, thanks to over 600,000 generous donors. We already shared our favorite moments from the year, and now we’re taking a deeper dive into the data behind those projects. What do teachers need most? What made 2018 different than years past? Our new 2018 Insights Report answers these questions and more.

With classroom projects posted by teachers at nearly half of all public schools in the U.S., we had a lot of data to work with. Here are some highlights from the report.

More rural teachers are using DonorsChoose.org

In 2018, we saw thousands of new teachers trying out our site for the first time, especially in rural areas: Schools in rural areas saw a 53 percent growth in teachers creating their first projects, compared to 37 percent growth among schools in urban areas. We were founded by a history teacher in New York City, so it’s especially exciting to see more schools outside of big urban areas finding support.

Books are still the most-needed classroom resource

With over 60,000 projects requesting books in 2018, they are by far the most common resource we deliver to classrooms. This year, Wonder and The Hate U Give topped our “bestseller list” of most-requested items. Once again, teachers were trendsetters: Long before The Hate U Give hit theaters, it was a top pick for teachers.

Projects are getting funded faster

Back in 2014, it took 35 days on average for a project to be fully funded. In 2018, that number had dropped to 30 days. Ms. Stivers, a school librarian in North Carolina, shared her experience: “In my 4 years of teaching at Mount Vernon, every project that I have requested has been fully funded by complete strangers, often within a month of my posting.”

STEM and computer science are on the rise

Continuing a trend from past years, requests for applied science materials and experiences have continued to trend upward on DonorsChoose.org. Applied Science projects accounted for 13 percent of all projects in 2018, up from 10 percent in 2016.  And over the past four years, computer science and coding projects grew 2.5x faster than other project types.

Every year, we learn something new about what teachers need most. But one thing is always true: Your support makes all of this possible. Right now, teachers have shared over 50,000 more projects with materials and experiences they need for their students. Which one will you choose?

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