Paying for Learn-Biology.com shouldn’t have to come out of your own pocket

For the 2021-22 school year, we’ve simplified our pricing for high school access to Learn-Biology.com

  • If your school is purchasing your subscription, the price is $299 for a single teacher license. This gives all of your students access to all of our resources for one year.
  • If you’re paying out of your own pocket, the price is $179.

Often, when I ask teachers why they paid out of pocket, they say something like “I didn’t even ask! My school never pay for anything.” But you’d be surprised. Even when a school is facing financial difficulties, 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: Learn-Biology.com is 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 Learn-Biology.com, which costs a school $299.

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 to your school administrator or PTA president

[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.

The curriculum is called Learn-Biology.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  purchase a teacher license for $299. Having used the site for the past few months, I can vouch for how effective it is. Nationwide, it’s being used by hundreds of 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 resources 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.

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 Learn-Biology.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]

If you have to pay yourself, seek support from 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 $8.00. 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 Learn-Biology.com If you need any help figuring this out, just send me an email.