The need is real.
Almost all teachers spend money these days to supply their own classrooms, with public school teachers in the U.S. averaging nearly $500 a year from their own pockets. So, how can you best help with school supplies?
First, consider putting together school supply packs teeming with paper, pencils and pens. Tech grants might help cover some digital needs, but paper shouldn’t be overlooked: 89 percent of students in grades seven through 12 say paper is essential to helping them achieve their academic goals.
Second, set a reminder to replenish these kits as the school year goes on—classroom needs are infinite. Read on to learn more about how you can help.
Step 1: Establish a contact at a local school.
You can reach out to school principals, tell them you want to help with school supplies and ask what their classrooms need. In many cases, anything you donate will be welcome. They will let you know.
Step 2: Compile a list of requested supplies.
Needs vary by school, but a list of requests for items in school supply packs is likely to include the following:
- Paper: not just one type—schools often need copy paper, lined paper, notebooks, index cards and construction paper
- Writing utensils: No. 2 pencils, pens with black or blue ink, erasers, colored pencils, crayons, markers, highlighters, dry-erase markers
- General supplies: large writing tablets, pocket folders, three-ring binders, report covers
- Classroom essentials: stapler, staples, rulers, protractors, glue sticks, scissors, tape
- Things you can never have too much of: tissues
Step 3: Organize a school drive.
There is power in numbers! Reach out to family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and other folks in your life. Consider joining forces with a local community group or house of worship. Set up drop-off sites and dates, and make sure to have corrugated cardboard boxes on hand for easy packing and damage-free delivery.
Step 4: Promote, promote, promote.
Spread the word about your school supply packs initiative. Print flyers and distribute at places where parents congregate, like school drop-off spots and bulletin boards. Social media is another excellent way to get the word out about help with school supplies—use a hashtag to generate momentum.
- National Center for Education Statistics. “Public School Teacher Spending on Classroom Supplies.” May 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
- Paper + Packaging Board. 2018. Paper and Productive Learning: The Fourth Annual Back-to-School Report.
- AARP Create the Good in association with the National Association of Elementary School Principals. “Start a School Supply Drive.” Retrieved 4.16.19