Paying for sciencemusicvideos shouldn’t have to come out of your pocket

It bothers me when teachers tell me that they’ve had to purchase their teacher license for sciencemusicvideos.com out of their own pocket. But often, when I ask teachers why their school didn’t pay, they say something like “I didn’t even ask! They never pay for anything.” But you’d be surprised. Even with the financial difficulties many schools are facing, a well designed argument might convince your administrator or department chair to provide you with the funds to purchase a teacher license. And if that doesn’t work, then you might be able to turn to your school’s PTA or other members of your community to provide you with support.

The basic idea is this: SCIENCEMUSICVIDEOS.COM is essentially an interactive textbook that’s orders of magnitude more effective than a paper textbook at generating student learning. Your school wouldn’t ask you to pick up the cost of buying textbooks for your students. That’s because buying textbooks for your students costs thousands of dollars. So why would they leave it to you to pick up the tab for a subscription to sciencemusicvideos.com, which costs $149 (or a bit more, depending on when you buy it)?

Below, I’ve provided you with a sample letter that you can send to your Principal, Department Chair, or whomever pays for educational supplies and services in your school or district. And if that doesn’t work, you can send it to your PTA, Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, Donors Choose, etc.

A sample letter

[DATE]

To: [Principal, Department Chair, PTA President, etc. ]

RE: Funding for purchase of a teacher license to a biology learning website for my AP Biology students.

Dear _________________,

I’m writing to ask for your support in helping me purchase a teacher subscription for an online AP Biology curriculum to help our AP Bio students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The site is called sciencemusicvideos.com. It’s an online interactive biology course that’s helping me teach AP Bio. I have used the site on a free-trial basis since [DATE]. I’d like to  purchased a teacher license for $[149, 174, 199, 249], depending on time of year] on [DATE]. Having used the site for the past few months, I can vouch for how effective it is. Nationwide, it’s being used by over 600 teachers and over 10,000 students.

The site consists of dozens of interactive biology tutorials that help students master the content in AP Biology. For every topic in the AP Bio curriculum, the site contains short readings followed by quizzes, interactive diagrams, and flashcards that result in student learning. The site also has a system to prepare our students for the AP Bio exam. A teacher website allows me to monitor student performance on these online activities, providing the accountability that’s been leading to student achievement.

With COVID-19 limiting my ability to directly teach the content our students need to know, having this subscription has been a tremendous help. Using the site will help our students to get better grades and to score 4s and 5s on the AP Bio exam. I’d be deeply appreciative if you could support me and our students by purchasing this resource.

If you want to take a look yourself, please go to sciencemusicvideos.com/ap-bio-teacher/

Thanks so much for your support! Please feel free to contact me at [YOUR CONTACT INFO] if you have any questions.

Most sincerely,

[Your Name]

AP Biology Teacher

[Your school]

You might even be able to do this directly with parents

Not every school has a PTA. In that case, consider asking parents directly for support. In some districts that’s prohibited, so please check first. But if it is allowed, then sending an email directly to your students’ parents can bring in the money you need. If you teach 20 students, then the cost/student is $7.50. Many families can support that kind of expense (and some might even give more to support the families that can’t).

If that’s your situation, then things will be a more complicated than working with a PTA. You have to decide how much to ask each family to contribute. And you have to decide how you want to accept the money, and what you’ll do if you raise more or less than your goal. But once you figure that out, you can send the letter above. Just address it directly to parents instead of to your PTA.

Line up help and support

If your school can’t or won’t pay, then try to get your department chairperson or Administration to back you up in going to your community. Talk to folks, and see if you can add a line like “Principal______ has told me that they wish they could support this, but that there just wasn’t any money available this year.” That can help you avoid any questions about not working through the proper channels.

I’m happy to help you figure this out

I want every teacher to be able to provide their students with the kind of support in mastering biology content that comes from using SCIENCEMUSICVIDEOS.COM . If you need any help figuring this out, just send me an email.