“It takes a village” is truly the right statement to say when it comes to helping children be successful in school. In order for students to grow and create their own paths in life, they need support from their loved ones, teachers, schools and community leaders. Just like teachers, they need the right tools, opportunities and supplies.
Teachers are one of the many backbones of schools as well as the community. They spend many hours inside the classroom, teaching, counseling, guiding and numerous other roles, in addition to countless hours outside of the classroom, planning and preparing. Teachers also spend their own money on supplies and resources needed to make learning fun and engaging for children. All of these activities are done with one goal in mind – help students learn, grow and be successful.
Teaching is a hard job with beautiful outcomes. Yet, it can’t be done alone. Every time August rolls around, a new school year rolls around with it. As members of the community, we have the duty to support teachers in any way that we can. Whether you are doing this venture alone or with a group, consider the ways below to help teachers start a new year on a strong foot:
- Donate School Supplies and Classroom Basics – Host a drive through your church, business or friends to collect school supplies. Then, donate them to a local school or the WS/FCS Educator Warehouse. You can also simplify it and just purchase a few items, here and there, in early August when things are on sale. There is no amount too small, and all items are greatly appreciated by teachers. Put a spin on your donations and add a theme, such as you are only taking collections for pencils, classroom decorations, notebooks, etc. Lastly, if you prefer to donate online, ask your child’s teacher if they have an Amazon wishlist or Donors Choose project for you to contribute to. If not, teachers always welcome donations of tissues, pencils, hand sanitizer and anything else throughout August and the rest of the year.
- Give Contributions for Student Meals – School lunches cost students and, many times, students will go into debt because of not having the money to pay for their lunch. Call your neighborhood school and contribute to a students’ (or just, in general) to meals. You can also ask if the school has a food and/or clothes pantry to see how you can help.
- Expand Classroom and School Libraries – According to research, students who don’t read over the summer lose about 20% of their previous school years gain. To help jumpstart the regain, consider giving books, new or barely used, to teachers and schools, especially Title 1 schools where the majority of the school’s population come from low income households.
- Volunteer at School – If you are a parent, guardian, grandparent or a loved one, sign up to volunteer at your child’s school. Through volunteering, one can assist in the school library, chaperone a field trip, work the front desk or make copies for the teachers. Don’t forget to also join the school’s PTA or PTO. The Parent Teacher Association/Organization is a great place to begin assisting teachers and schools and finding out all the ways possible to help.
- Advocate and Support – Remember, guiding students to success is a “village effort.” Many educational decisions are made on local and state levels. Use your voice to stand up for the teachers, students and schools and make yourself heard on key issues. Local school board meetings happen every month. If you don’t know where to start, stop by a board meeting for a few minutes and listen to what topics are being discussed.
- Host a Teacher Appreciation Event – Surprise teachers with a breakfast on the first day of school or an ice cream treat at the end of the first week. If you are a business owner, consider hosting a special teacher appreciation event for all to enjoy.
To all teachers everywhere, we salute you and all of the hard work and heart work you are doing. Together, we can pledge to support you in all that we can this school year and beyond.