This post is sponsored by Staples
Each July and August I find myself scouring ads for school supplies because once a teacher, always a teacher. I used to comb through the ads in the newspaper looking for the best prices on pencils, scissors, crayons, composition books, folders, and markers for my first grade classroom but when my kids started elementary school, it was just as important to stock up and help their teachers replenish their supplies throughout the year.
Teachers aren’t allocated a lot of money for supplies and almost all supplement their meager school supply budget by spending their own money. According to Education Market Association, 99.5% of public teachers spend their own money to equip their classrooms. Most teachers spend $400 or more.
When I started my first teaching job in 1998 in a low income public school, my budget for an entire year of classroom supplies totaled $120. That 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.
It’s not a lot of money even with my school district’s volume discount pricing they received for bulk purchasing. I constantly spent 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.
Through my years in the classroom, inflation caused the cost of living and school supplies to increase, however, my supply budget remained the same regardless of how many students I had in my class. I relied on before-school sales at my local Staples to stock up. I would buy as many boxes of crayons for a penny as I could. I loved filling my cart with sets of 12 pencils, pairs of child size scissors, and Crayola markers for as low as $0.10/each. I supplemented my supply of pocket folders when they went on sale 20 for $1.
During my years of teaching, I spent nearly $1,000/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 and achieve their dreams.
Why I Use DonorsChoose.org to Support Teachers
Even though I’ve left the classroom, I have two kids in public school where dwindling budgets are impacting the education of future generations. Teachers are being forced to be creative with their funding and many have turned to DonorsChoose.org. This incredible charity connects teachers in high-need communities with donors who want to help. This amazing organization makes 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 because these materials provide the kind of learning experiences our kids need to be successful and achieve their dreams.
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.
This year Staples is continuing its long-standing commitment to supporting education through the Staples for Students program with a $2 million donation. DonorsChoose.org and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation will each receive $1 million dollars. The gifts to these organizations are designed to give teachers the supplies and support they need to empower their students to achieve their dreams, and support the wellness of young people so that they can create a kinder and braver world.
The Staples for Students campaign has previously included school supply drives, support for teachers in classrooms, donations for education projects, classroom initiatives, and the sale of products that give back to communities and classrooms in need. Their continued support of DonorsChoose.org demonstrates a commitment to teachers, students, and education.
Co-founder of Born This Way Foundation, Lady Gaga, says her partnership with Staples for Students promotes a positive learning environment by providing teachers with supplies and support they need to empower their students. She believes, “not having materials at school is a real problem that puts a child at a deficit,” and these supplies are necessary to achieve their dreams.
Win a $50,000 Scholarship from Staples & Chance to See Lady Gaga in Concert
Now through September 15, 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 Las Vegas to meet Lady Gaga and see her in concert. Five first prize winners will win a trip for them and a guest to Las Vegas to see Lady Gaga in concert that includes round trip airfare, two nights stay, and spending money. Entries must be submitted before September 16, 2017 at 11:59 PM ET and entrants must be 13 years or older.
For official contest rules, or to learn more about Lady Gaga 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, Inc.