First he made a rap video welcoming his students. Now he's giving back in a bigger way.

In preparation for his student teaching job, Dwayne Reed decided to do something a little different from the usual lesson plan prep — he made a rap video.

"I wanted to get my students excited about the upcoming school year," Reed said. "I also wanted to connect myself to them before they even stepped foot in the classroom."

Reed in his music video, "Welcome to the Fourth Grade." Photo via Mr. Reed/YouTube.


Aside from welcoming his fourth grade class to the new year at Stenson Elementary School in Skokie, Illinois, the video highlights some "ideas he'd really like to try." He's interested in using music to teach on occasion because it has a way of making things stick in your head. (Seriously, you'll never stop singing the catchy welcome song Reed wrote.)

According to Reed, his students loved the video, as did their parents, and their friends, and their friends' parents. The video went viral and no doubt earned him the Coolest Teacher of the Year award.

While the student and parent approval is definitely a plus, it's what he's doing with the notoriety from his viral video that matters more.

Photo via Dwayne Reed/Facebook. Used with permission.

He's made it his mission to get books and supplies to underserved kids all over the Chicago area.

Public school funding in Chicago has been notoriously low since the 2008 recession, and this year is no exception. According to district data, over 30 public schools are set to lose between $50,000 and $200,000 in funding in the 2016-17 school year.

This is a reflection of a much larger problem with the way education is funded in America. According to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, at least 31 states provided less funding per student in 2014 than they did in 2008 before the recession hit. While 2016's complete data isn't in yet, so far, more than 25 states are still providing less funding overall.

Teachers all over the country are spending their own money to make up for the lack of funds to keep their classrooms outfitted with the proper supplies.

This is not something that should fall to them, but more often than not, it does. A Vox survey shows the majority of teachers spend anywhere from $200 to over $600 of their own salaries on school supplies for their students. Many have even turned to education-specific crowdfunding sites like Donors Choose, which certainly helps, but shouldn't be necessary for public education.

Thankfully, people, especially parents, are starting to take notice. They're helping out in any way they can — like the story of this great dad who gave what he could to a teacher buying supplies. Or this mom who wrote about how much buying that extra tissue box means to a teacher.

Reed continues to raise money via a GoFundMe account set up for him and by privately reaching out to those in his community.

But despite Reed's newfound fame, he – and many, many other teachers – could use a helping hand.

So consider donating to him or a school near you or a teacher you might randomly encounter buying school supplies. You'll be making a huge difference — not only to that teacher, but to all the kids they teach.

Here's Reed's awesome music video "Welcome to the Fourth Grade" for further incentive.

Meet your new favorite teacher, who's breakin' out his rhyme book to welcome his new class.Special thanks to Mr. Dwayne Reed.

Posted by Upworthy on Friday, August 26, 2016
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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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