20/05/2024

Prepper Stories

Driving Education Greatness

Utilizing Tax Credit Money – STORIES FROM SCHOOL AZ

Utilizing Tax Credit Money – STORIES FROM SCHOOL AZ

Utilizing Tax Credit Money – STORIES FROM SCHOOL AZ

How are we supposed to give our students a well-rounded education when the money available to us is not really available to us? I recently attended this outstanding film entitled “Where is Anne Frank” and while viewing it, I began brainstorming various questions and possible links to the Holocaust. Once the film was over and the lights came on, I franticly wrote all my ideas down before I lost them. Later, I started to think of all the logistics surrounding the field trip, such as, not conflicting with testing, teacher professional days, school sponsor events, or clashing with other class events, and most importantly, how I could potentially get the funding to pay for this opportunity. Our school is fortunate to belong to a community of retirees who understands the need to provide non-traditional school opportunities for students to enrich their learning. Unfortunately, stipulations prohibit my content from utilizing tax credit money for busing to view a movie or to pay for viewing a movie even if it is directly related to my content, in this case the Holocaust which is mandated curriculum. So, now I am faced with two options one having my students pay their fair share of the bus, film ticket, and lunch or create a club to which we will have to have officers, meetings, agendas, and fundraisers. The very sad part in this is that the local house of worship would absolutely love to send our students to view this movie whether it be in our city or in the capital, but again the stipulations restrict their tax donation from being used in this manner. I am willing to write a lengthy justification for my students viewing this film, but that just doesn’t seem to manner. To add insult to injury, between my husband, myself, and our son we donate $600 every year to support field trips at my school and I don’t get to utilize any of it. My tax credit money did support the chorus teacher taking her students to see Hamilton, but as a Social Studies teacher I was denied for the exact same field trip. Can someone please help me to understand how any of these stipulations make any sense? I want to find something for every one of my students to be able to make a connection with some part of history whether it be by novel, memoir, movie, documentary, field trip, classroom activity, or personal experience I have had walking in the footsteps of a historical figure. It should not be this hard to provide an opportunity to enhance a child’s experience with history because of bureaucratic red tape.

 

Laura Ballesteros

Laura was destined to be a teacher when as a small child she would gather her stuff animals and teach them how to read a book she saw on the PBS show Reading Rainbow. She began her quest to become a teacher with focusing on teaching American History, but an art history teacher guided her towards teaching English. He wanted to ensure she would be able to get a teaching position right out of college. She followed his suggestion and upon subbing at a middle school she ran into her former middle school Social Studies teacher Elizabeth Clontz. Upon completion of their conversation with the principal Laura was offered a position at that school. Mrs. Clontz provided her with the support and direction she needed to complete her first three years of teaching with confidence and dedication to her craft.
Laura has spent all 23 years of her teaching at that very school in Language Arts, Special Education, Read 180, Jaguar Den Intervention, and Social Studies 6-8. In 2007, she earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. In 2013, she earned her National Board Certification in Early Adolescent Language Arts. She is currently in her dream position as a 7th grade teacher focusing on WWI, WWII, Holocaust, Cold War, and Economics. Over her 23 years teaching, she has taken her students on field trips to museums, concerts, Broadway plays, the state capital, theme parks, and wild animal parks. She has created Hogwarts Night, WWII Bond Dances, and AVID Parent/Students Nights. She is most happy with her teaching when students can interact with history and have fun with it.
In her free time, she travels to places related to the history she teaches. She has had the privilege of visiting Europe in 2018 and 2022 under the guidance and financial support of the WWII Museum and NAU Martin-Springer Institute. She has traveled across the country under the guidance of economic organizations to explore economic issues of the past and present. She enjoys returning with her wealth of information and experiences to share with her husband and son.