We believe that every student has the right to experience high-tech learning opportunities with the lowest cost of ownership. And when we say “every student,” we mean it.
That’s why we’ve donated 500 computers to The Teacher’s Desk—just in time for Christmas.
Leveraging our success to help others.
If you know anything about Bak USA, you know that our commitment to education runs deep.
Less than two years after we began to build our dream, we count local educators, Microsoft, and Intel® Education among our partners. Our purpose? To build computers strong enough for any classroom, smart enough for any student, and affordable enough for any school.
We’re proud to say that our Atlas Series laptops are in use at schools across the nation. We attribute our success, in no small part, to the support of the greater Buffalo community. (Thank you, Buffalo!)
But here’s the thing. While our success is great and all, it’s not what drives us. As a social enterprise, we’re driven by our values and opportunities to leverage our success to help others.
School supplies for students in need.
Imagine, for a moment, that you’re asked to learn something new and difficult. Now, imagine that you’ll have to learn it without the benefit of school supplies like pens, pencils, notebooks, books, and other traditional resources. Difficult, no?
That’s what education is like for many students whose socioeconomic status doesn’t allow for their families to buy school supplies. To help close that gap, many teachers use their own money to purchase school supplies for their students. But teacher paychecks are tight and there often aren’t enough supplies to go around.
That’s where The Teacher’s Desk comes in.
The Teacher’s Desk is a store, located right here in Buffalo, where teachers “shop” for free school supplies, books, and teacher resources. Teachers eligible to shop at The Teacher’s Desk teach at Western New York schools where 70% or more of the student body participates in the federal Free or Reduced School Lunch Program.
John Mika, a retired autoworker turned substitute teacher, founded the organization in October 2011 after witnessing firsthand the need at a Buffalo public school where he was teaching.
I was teaching at a public school when a little boy came up to me with a runny nose. I couldn’t find any tissues on the teacher’s desk, so I gave him my handkerchief. I realized that there was a difference in student access to school supplies between city schools and suburban schools. I decided right then and there that every student should have the same access to school supplies, regardless of where they go to school.”
Since founding The Teacher’s Desk, John and his team have distributed more than $10 million in products to more than 6,000 teachers and 120,000 students at 230 schools throughout Western New York. On average, each teacher receives about $1,000 worth of free school supplies each academic year.
A match made in heaven.
When we learned of The Teacher’s Desk and their work here in Western New York, we had that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you realize you’ve just met your new best friend. Their mission is to support local students and teachers. We’re committed to education and build technology specifically for use in K-12 classrooms.
Match made in heaven? We thought so. And if access to traditional school supplies could have a significant, positive impact on a student’s learning journey, imagine what access to a classroom computer could do!
We put together a bundle of 500 mobile computers to donate to teachers and students through The Teacher’s Desk. It included:
- 200 Bak Board tablets for students in lower primary grades
- 250 of our Atlas 10 laptops, the very first computer in the Atlas Series, for students in grades 4-7
- 50 of our Atlas 12 laptops, the successor to the Atlas 10, for students in grades 8-12
To request a donation of classroom computers, teachers who shop with The Teacher’s Desk submitted application materials to give us an idea of what computer would be best for their classroom, how they planned to use it, and what impact it would have on their students.
By the time it was all said and done, 72 teachers from 52 different schools had sent in application materials. We were floored by the response and by the need it demonstrated. To select the winners, we assembled a team of people—many of whom have professional teaching experience—from our team and from The Teacher’s Desk.
— WBFO (@WBFO) December 21, 2017
— WKBW Photographer (@wkbwphotog) December 20, 2017
To see more of the news coverage, click here.
Our donated computers are heading to classrooms throughout Buffalo and in Blasdell, Cheektowaga, Niagara Falls, and West Seneca. They’ll be used in classrooms of all grade levels and types: general education classrooms, special education classrooms, classrooms where many of the students are refugees for whom English is a second language, and even classrooms where the students are medically fragile. It’s an incredible privilege to be able to support these students and their teachers.
Want to see the full list of teachers we selected as recipients? Click here.
Here’s the list.
Teachers who work at schools in and around Buffalo were selected as recipients of donated computers for their classrooms. Here’s who they are, where they teach, and what they’ll receive from us.
Atlas 12 recipients
- Abigail Petril, 10th grade, Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, Buffalo
- Stephanie Wright, Pre-K to 12th grade, West Seneca Continuing/Community Education in West Seneca
Atlas 10 recipients
- Valerie Bernal, Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 5th to 12th grade, Math Science Technology Preparatory School, Buffalo
- Jill Birmingham, 4th grade, William J. Grabiarz School of Excellence, Buffalo
- Megan Boggs, Pre-K, BUILD Academy, Buffalo
- Debby Maeder, 3rd grade, Lorraine Academy Public School, Blasdell
- Sara Morreale, 4th and 5th grade, Hyde Park Elementary School, Niagara Falls
- Sara Palumbo, 5th grade, School 81, Buffalo
- Colleen Rea, 4th grade, D’Youville Porter Campus School, Buffalo
- Megan Szpylman, 3rd grade, Union East Elementary School, Cheektowaga
- Crystaline Wilcox, Pre-K, Waterfront Elementary School, Buffalo
- Susan Winkel, 5th grade, Houghton Academy, Buffalo
Bak Board recipients
- Mary Ellen Bossert, Kindergarten and 1st grade, Reach Academy Charter School, Buffalo
- Megan Carvellera, Kindergarten, Dr. Charles R. Drew Science Magnet Annex, Buffalo
- Maria Cellino, 5th and 6th grade, Health Care Center for Children at the Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo
- Deborah Dourlain, 9th to 12th grade, Hutchinson Central Technical School, Buffalo
- Bonnie Elniski, 1st grade, Herman Badilo Bilingual Academy, Buffalo
- Meghan Feraldi, Kindergarten to 8th grade, Buffalo Elementary School of Technology, Buffalo
- Sandra Gradolph, 2nd grade, D’Youville Porter Campus School, Buffalo
- Deborah Jax, Kindergarten, Stanley M. Makowski Early Childhood Center, Buffalo
- Heather Kaiser, 3rd grade, Stanley M. Makowski Early Childhood Center, Buffalo
- Jennifer Kosobucki, 3rd grade, Houghton Academy, Buffalo
- Christine Meyers, Kindergarten to 5th grade, Tapestry Charter School, Buffalo
- Kim Napierala, 1st grade, Community School, Buffalo
- Sarah Rejent, 4th grade, William J. Grabiarz School of Excellence, Buffalo
- Genie Rohl, 3rd grade, Lovejoy Discovery School, Buffalo
- Brian Rosintoski, Pre-K to 4th grade, Roosevelt Early Childhood Center, Buffalo
- Shannon Savage, Kindergarten to 6th grade, Geraldine J. Mann School, Niagara Falls
- Janine Schuster, Kindergarten, Buffalo Elementary School of Technology, Buffalo
- Janet Venator, Pre-K to 8th grade, Westminster Community Charter School, Buffalo
- Jessica Wagner, 1st grade, Buffalo School Bilingual Center, Buffalo
- Elizabeth Ziegler, 1st grade, D’Youville Porter Campus School, Buffalo
You can even click through some great photos from the event:
— Autumn (@autumnfading) December 21, 2017
— Station 28, LLC (@stn28) December 21, 2017
Inspirational act of kindness during the holiday season.
Impressive donation by @BakUSABuffalo.
Read (and listen) to this @WBFO story by @MikeDesmondWBFO:
“500 new Buffalo-made computers donated to area classrooms”https://t.co/2pj07OmWob#Buffalo
— Dan Meyer (@MeyersMusings) December 21, 2017
Here’s what some of the recipients had to say about how they’d use our computers in their classrooms:
Thirsty for more? Check out a couple of the videos we received:
Get in on the action.
The Teacher’s Desk needs your help to keep their dream alive. Up for it? I knew you would be.