By Brittany Alexander
It’s that time of year again. Time to go back-to-school shopping. While your child may have all of the necessary supplies he or she may need, their teachers will spend between $500 and $800 of their own money each year for classroom supplies. That’s a big chunk of what teachers earn. With the Educator Warehouse, teachers could save between $400 and $800 a year.
The Educator Warehouse (EW) helps all teachers employed in the WSFCS system by allowing them one trip each quarter to stock up on much needed supplies for their classrooms. Each teacher is given 25 points per quarter (you can get an extra two points if you bring your own bag) to spend on a wide array of classroom and instructional supplies, K-12 reading materials and resources for teachers, plus items to create bulletin boards for the classroom.
The Warehouse, located behind Diggs-Latham Elementary School in Winston-Salem, is a pod that acts as a store. Each classroom holds materials that have been donated by the community and corporate partners. Jo-Ann’s Fabrics is one of the amazing partners with the EW, often supplying much needed art supplies such as paint, sketchbooks and ribbon.
Teachers can become very innovative with items that are available to them. I spoke with Karel Chandler, chairman of the EW, after taking a brief tour of the pod. She was excited to show me what teachers can do with things lying around the house. Chandler took a three-inch, three-ring binder and used scissors to cut the creases where it folds. Left with just the half with the rings, she told me that a teacher could tape it to the wall with the rings open to use as a hall-pass holder. Don’t have a hall-pass? Take a blank CD, label it with a Sharpie and tie ribbon through the hole in the center to make a necklace that can be used as a hall pass.
While doing your back-to-school shopping, please think about picking up some extra items to donate to the EW. You could also use any extra school supplies left over from previous years. You will be able to find boxes with the EW’s logo around town where you can drop these items. The EW runs solely on volunteers and donations from the public, so if you cannot donate supplies, think about volunteering. The EW needs help organizing and stocking materials, as well as greeting and assisting customers. If your child happens to be a Crosby Scholar or anyone looking to fulfill community service hours, this is a good way for him or her to get the needed hours.
On August 21st, the Winston-Salem Dash will have boxes where you can donate any items you may have picked up. There will also be places where you can give monetary donations. While you won’t be able to get in free, it will greatly help the teachers throughout the county. Plus, all donations are 100% tax deductible.
Because of the community’s help, the EW has helped teachers more than you think. A teacher that lives in and has children attending Davie County schools had applied and been given the opportunity to teach in both Davie and Forsyth counties. This teacher told Chandler at a new-teacher orientation a few years ago that she chose to teach in Forsyth County because of the Educator Warehouse.
For teachers that are interested in using the resources that the Educator Warehouse has to offer, visit the district’s website and find the WSFCS Educator Warehouse under the “Employees” tab. Before you can shop, you must fill out an application online.
Shopping for the 2014-2015 school year has ended, but starting on August 13th, new teachers are allowed in to shop starting at 3pm. New teachers are awarded bonus points, so make sure you get there before it closes at 8pm. All teachers will be allowed in to shop for the 2015-2016 school year starting on August 14th from 9am-9pm. It will be open again the next day, August 15th, from 9am-3pm.
The Educator Warehouse cannot continue without support from you. If you would like to place a donation box in your place of business, please contact Karel Chandler by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 336.817.1673. If you are interested in learning more about how to volunteer, email Becky Seay at email@example.com or call 336.817.5215. You can learn more by visiting forsytheducatorwarehouse.org.
The Educator Warehouse is located at 986 Hutton Street in Winston-Salem. Normal shopping hours are 3:30-5:30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9-11am on the first and third Saturdays of each month.