Southern Indiana bus brings free supplies to local teachers

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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. – It can be expensive for teachers to keep their classrooms stocked with school supplies, but a local foundation is helping educators by offering free items ranging from markers to hand sanitizer.

This school year, the Greater Clark County Schools Educational Foundation launched its Teacher Supply Bus to provide school supplies to teachers across the district.

The bus tours schools in the fall and spring, and on Friday the bus was parked at Northaven Elementary School in Jeffersonville. Each teacher can buy the bus once per school year and fill a bag with up to 25 supplies.

Emily Oliver-Jones, executive director of the Greater Clark Educational Foundation, said she started asking teachers about their needs when she started working for the foundation several years ago.

“I expected them to say something huge, and it ended up being that they needed supplies like pencils, dry erase markers,” she said. “I went back to my board and told them, these teachers need school supplies, they are paying out of pocket for it, and how can we help? This is how the teachers’ supply bus arrived.

The foundation interviewed educators to see what type of supplies were needed. The top five items in demand include hand sanitizers, dry erase markers, pencils, tissues, and sanitizing wipes.

The bus itself was donated by the district and Amazon is sponsoring the program. Lotus Sign and Design in Charlestown helped decorate the bus, which is covered in a blue and white polka dot pattern.

“It’s really a community project,” said Oliver-Jones. “We’ve had local businesses doing sourcing campaigns, and we just have very strong support.”

In the future, Oliver-Jones hopes to increase the number of visits to the Teacher Supply Bus, and the foundation also plans to eventually involve students from Greater Clark in the program.

Teachers are excited when they see the bus parked in schools, she said.

“The teachers are so grateful and they are so excited about the school supplies,” Oliver-Jones said.

Lauren Cunliff, a third-grade teacher at Northaven Elementary, typically spends around $ 300 a year on school supplies in her classroom. She said she knew parents can have a hard time purchasing school supplies, which is why the Teacher Supply Bus is helping to fill the classroom with the “extra supplies that not all children can bring.”

She can’t have enough pencils in her classroom, so this is one of the main items she stocked up when she visited the bus, she said. Hand sanitizer and wipes have also become a critical supply during the pandemic.

“Everything on this bus is good for us,” she said.

Izzy Jordan, a special education teacher at Northaven Elementary School, added a bag full of toys to her bag when shopping for the teacher supply bus, saying that restless toys are great for her students who like to keep their toys. moving hands. These types of items are not on school supply lists, so she often finds herself buying these types of items out of her pocket.

Jordan also stocked up on items like dry-erase markers and pencils.

“I feel like dry erase markers are a teacher’s dream so they can stock up,” Jordan said. “They dry out or the children push too hard on the markers.”

She spends at least $ 200 or $ 300 on supplies for a small workload, she said.

Kelli Gualtieri, a third-grade teacher at Northaven Elementary School, said being able to stock up on supplies was a big problem for her class. She spends at least $ 500 to $ 600 a year to supply her class.

On Friday, she filled her bag with Post-it notes, dry-erase markers, pencils, hand sanitizer and sanitizer wipes.

“It’s so helpful,” she said. “We’re spending a ton of money, and it’s the little things that we have to deliver. The supplies they bring at the start of school go out very quickly, so that’s huge. And just thinking about it is really good too. ‘

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Source: News and Tribune


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