$2,500 can go a long way, especially for educators. It’s no secret that teachers spend out-of-pocket money for their students; what might surprise many is how much. A recent study from the National School Supply and Equipment Association found 99 percent of instructors used an average of $500 of their own money to equip their classrooms. However, many educators report putting out much more than that for school necessities, with the amounts closer to $1,000 to $2,000 each year.
There are many great resources to help classroom instructors stretch their budget for classroom supplies. Edutopia compiled grassroots tips and links from educators around the nation on getting free supplies and organizations that help teachers get the goods they need. They include:
Another is the California Casualty $2,500 Academic Award.
Ohio kindergarten teacher Holly Thomas is the most recent recipient. Holly says she routinely spends between $1,000 and $1,500 per year on her classroom and students. The grant has enabled her to buy bins and containers for the 500 children’s books and other materials she has accumulated in her 6 years as a teacher. She is also using her California Casualty Academic Award to augment the science center she has created in her classroom and will use some of the funds to build six garden boxes for her students to plant and enjoy. Holly is teaming up with the nonprofit ToledoGrows for the project.
Holly, who is paying off student loans and covering tuition for her Master’s degree in Instruction and Curriculum, says having extra resources to purchase classroom needs as they arise has taken a lot of pressure off her finances and added to her well-being.
“We are repeatedly told we have to do more with less. With what we are expected to accomplish, with the resources available and the demands being put on us; my job is becoming more and more stressful. I try very hard to remind myself daily that I am molding the lives of five and six year olds”
Holly, urges instructors to take advantage of grant programs like the California Casualty Academic Award. She can now fund new ideas to help inspire her students. “It feels good to be supported by such amazing organizations as the NEA and California Casualty,” she said.
Elaine Tam was the recipient of the California Casualty Academic Award in August 2013. Elaine is a California high school teacher who applied the grant towards a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Forty eight students were able to tour the aquarium and enjoy the beautiful coastline in the area; many of them had never been to the ocean before. Elaine said, “As always, recognizing educators isn’t done nearly enough in society so this award is undoubtedly welcome.” She too urges educators to take a moment and apply.
Whether your need is for new technology, electronic tablets or traditional supplies of books, snacks, pencils and paper, do what Elaine and Holly did and let California Casualty pick up the tab with the $2,500 Academic Award. There are restrictions and official rules and the application can be found at www.calcasacademicaward.com.
Resources for this article:
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- Kid Conferences – Getting to Know Your Students - September 9, 2022
I retired after 42 years of teaching, primarily Home Economics in Hayward, Ca. In my last 6 years, I exclusively taught Culinary Careers that had been established by two other teachers and I stepped into a ” State of the Art” Culinary Kitchen for a high school setting that I could have never done without their expertise and experience. My job was to take over training students to prepare and serve entrees in a restaurant setting on campus.
Another facet of the service was breads and desserts which was prepared by students of another instructor who would allow no less than perfection with a heart. The desserts could have matched anything in Paris, France.
The “Lion’s Den”, right across from the kitchens where the training and preparation took place, we could do up to 30 services for educators, students, friends, and now and then, the big wigs from the district office, for 12 weeks after their training. The cost for the entree and desserts and bread never went over $10.00 a person and that was to be our budget, and was served in a 35 minute period at lunch for 12 weeks.
When the doors opened, to calm myself and the students, we would all yell, “crescendo” as though it was the height of joy, and it was, in fact, to calm the executive chef. Me!
Before long, I decided I wanted them to work with foods that would sell in a highly professional restaurant. I upped the ante and, from my profits on a real estate deal that sold at the height of the market, I had extra money that I wasn’t used to having.
I wanted to have the students prepare meals like seared salmon in a pesto sauce, I wanted them to taste and enjoy great food so that they could take with them more than the school or was expected to provide.
Around those years, I was lucky to sell a property at the top of the market, and was not used to having money other than what I made for an ample salary as a teacher.
I decided that I wanted the students to have an experience that they could aspire to and take with them when they applied to schools such as the Culinary Academy in San Francisco often with special scholarships to qualify.
I didn’t keep tabs at how much the extra cost to me was because the rewards were of their visits after graduation and telling their experiences in the Culinary domain. Every student was able to taste and enjoy the entrees served and when they came back to visit, their acquired knowledge was of true chefs who had an understanding of the expectations when going to apply for good jobs.
I am now retired, but still substitute teach. I live in Richmond, Ca. and because of my love of cooking and my disdain of throwing away food, I process food in a timely manner and distribute it when I can to facilities that feed those who are not able to afford food for themselves or their families. Under the bridge was fleeting, but enlightening experience. I found more than a few places who care deeply for those who cannot feed themselves and their families and understand the essence of resolving hunger and poverty.
My comment here is about the ones before mine was added. So sorry, I did not scroll down far enough so my article is in the wrong location. You can disregard it, but it was fun to write. I support the value of funds being given to teachers who are amongst those that can be fulfilled academically if they have the funds to orchestrate special projects for students. These endeavors rarely can be done without funding.