Bailey Hutson and Cindy Vang in libraryBailey Hutson (left) and Cindy Vang (right)

Giving matters: investing in future educators

Free textbooks for curriculum and instruction students

Senior elementary education foundations major Cindy Vang (right) was worried about whether she could afford materials and textbooks for her fall classes when she got some unexpected news—a donor was going to buy all the textbooks and classroom supplies for her “Foundations of Literacy” course. The cost of textbooks has risen four times faster than the rate of inflation, and the Foundations course requires a significant investment.

“I felt extremely grateful and hopeful that there are others who care for our future classrooms and teachers as well,” says Vang. 

The Norm and Ann Hoffman family gave in honor of Ann, BS ’59, a former teacher who received support for books while she was in college. The Hoffmans’ contribution provided learning materials for every student in the fall 2019 and spring 2020 “Foundations of Literacy” cohorts.  

“It makes me happy to know that there are such amazing people who are willing to invest in future educators.”

-Bailey Hutson

The course often takes place on-site at an elementary school where participants apply what they learn in class to one-on-one lessons with a developing reader, or “reading buddy.” The collaboration helps students practice their teaching skills.

“I was so thrilled to hear about the generous donation,” says enthused senior elementary education foundations major Bailey Hutson (above). “It makes me happy to know that there are such amazing people who are willing to invest in future educators so that we, in turn, can invest in the leaders of tomorrow—our students.” She plans to use the class materials to create engaging reading lessons and experiences that will instill a love of reading and learning in her students.

The gift will have a sustained impact as the pre-service teachers step into their own classrooms with the tools needed to support their students as they begin their first year of teaching. 

“We want to keep barriers as low as possible for students interested in a teaching career,” Ann’s daughter says of their motivation to give. “It’s especially meaningful that we can honor our mother and her experiences at the U, and as a teacher.”

Story by Kathryn Silverstein | Photos by Erica Loeks | Spring/Summer 2020