This post is sponsored by Staples
When I first began teaching first grade in 1998 in a low income public school, I was surprised that my public school budget for an entire year of classroom supplies totaled $120. $120 was supposed to purchase pencils, crayons, construction paper, glue, glue sticks, erasers, lined writing paper, writing journals, paper for my easel for large group lessons, dry erase markers, chalk, and more supplies that I needed to do my job on a daily basis. If you’re thinking that $120 wasn’t a lot of money, you’re right. I was constantly spending my own money on supplies for my students— kids who sometimes came to school telling me they couldn’t do their homework because they lacked the basic supplies they needed at home to complete their work.
Each year my supply budget remained the same regardless of how many students I had in my class so I became reliant on the before school sales at my local Staples where I could get boxes of crayons, sets of 12 pencils, pairs of child size scissors, Crayola markers, and more sometimes for as low as $0.10/each.
Even though I’ve left the classroom, it doesn’t surprise me that 99.5% of public teachers spend their own money to equip their classrooms. According to Education Market Association, most teachers spend $400 or more.
During my years of teaching, I spent nearly $1000/year on classroom supplies and books that were sent home with my students to ensure that they were reading at home and able to complete their homework. I never thought twice about my expenditures. It was just something that I did to ensure that my students had the necessary supplies to keep learning but I was glad that I could claim it as a work-related tax deduction at the end of each year!
Why I Use DonorsChoose.org to Support Teachers
Even though I’ve left the classroom, I have two kids in school and know how important it is to continue supporting our teachers. I still scour the Staples ad throughout the summer to pick up extra school supplies that are sent in throughout the year to restock my kids’ classrooms and am always checking DonorsChoose.org to find other ways to help. As a family, we’re committed to funding classroom supplies and projects through DonorsChoose.org, a charity that connects teachers in high need communities with donors who want to help.
In schools like the one where I previously taught where I wasn’t flush with supply donations from parents, I would have loved to have been able to use DonorsChoose.org. They make it easy for teachers to request funding for classroom materials that aren’t provided by the school and fall outside their personal budget. In the past, our family has donated money towards iPad minis to support classroom reading programs, classroom carpets for group learning, science materials, and a myriad of other requests submitted by teachers.
DonorsChoose.org makes it easy to help teachers at your child’s school, fund subject specific projects submitted by teachers around the country thanks to their simple search feature, and see a list of projects that are getting close to being fully funded if you want to give those a boost. You can also or donate directly to DonorsChoose.org when you shop at Staples in-store or online.
Staples for Students Donates $1 Million to DonorsChoose.org and Partners with Katy Perry
This year Staples is continuing their long-standing commitment to supporting education through the Staples for Students program with a $1 million donation to DonorsChoose.org. The Staples for Students campaign has previously included school supply drives, support for teachers in classrooms, donations for education projects, classroom initiatives such as Designed by Students, and the sale of products that give back to communities and classrooms in need.
Staples has also joined forces with pop superstar, Katy Perry, whose career was greatly influenced through a vision board project in her 4th grade music class. In this video, Katy Perry describes how she made a collage of her hopes and aspirations in music and wonders what might have happened if her teacher hadn’t had the supplies she needed for her project and she hadn’t gotten to express her dreams.
Having teamed up with Staples during her 2014 The Prismatic World Tour, Katy Perry realized how desperately teachers need support to provide simple tools that most expect would already be available in their classrooms. This year she’s using her star power to bring awareness to this issue because she believes education provides a foundation for a great life and wants to ensure that students across the country are inspired by their teachers and afforded opportunities to reach their dreams, just as she was by her 4th grade teacher.
Win a $50,000 Scholarship from Staples & Chance to Meet Katy Perry
Now through September 10, fans who spend $25 or more in any Staples store will receive a unique entry code on their receipt to enter the sweepstakes online at StaplesForStudents.com.
One grand prize winner will win a $50,000 scholarship plus a trip for two to Los Angeles to meet Katy Perry. Four first prize winners and one guest each will also win air travel to Los Angeles, two nights stay and spending money to meet Katy Perry at the VIP Winners Celebration. Entries must be submitted before September 10, 2016 at 11:59 PM ET and entrants must be 13 years or older.
For official contest rules, or to learn more about Katy Perry teaming up with Staples to help teachers and classrooms, visit StaplesForStudents.com.
I was compensated for this post but opinions are my own and based on personal experience. Images courtesy of Staples and DonorsChoose.org.