Archive for Wednesday, August 4, 2010

With economy still tight, elementary schools try to pare down school supply lists

August 4, 2010


Helping hands

The Ballard Center and Penn House will be distributing school kits — backpacks that contain school supplies — this year to hundreds of children who qualify for free and reduced-price school lunches. The program covers students in kindergarten through sixth grade; kindergartners through third-graders also may receive new shoes.

Donations are still being accepted, in the form of new supplies or money or gift cards that could be used to purchase new supplies. Backpacks are always a major need, said Seth Peterson, administrative manager.

“We’ll do what we can to see that everybody gets taken care of,” he said.

For more information or to donate, call or stop by the Ballard Center, 708 Elm, 842-0729; or Penn House, 1035 Pa., 842-0440.

ECKAN already has closed applications for its school supplies program, and distribution is set for Thursday.

Barbie Gossett doesn’t mind seeing Play-Doh, watercolor paints and baby wipes erased from this year’s list of kindergarten school supplies.

The lone addition — two boxes of No. 2 pencils — more than makes up for losing a few extras.

“Now we can write!” she said Monday, an honest-to-goodness smile beaming across her face, as she readied her classroom at Woodlawn School. “Now I won’t have to bother the first-grade teachers anymore. Or the parents.”

The replacement of perceived extras with bonafide essentials comes by design, as administrators working on the Elementary School Supply List for 2010-11 took note of the struggling economy and worked to keep expenses to a minimum.

Evidence of their efforts: Unlike past years, the needs listed for each grade managed to fit on a single page.

“Knowing that times are hard, we don’t want families to be spending on things that aren’t as needed in the classroom,” said Jeanne Fridell, Woodlawn principal and co-chair of the supply list effort for elementary schools.

Midwestern families are expected to spend an average of $83.35 this year on supplies that include backpacks, notebooks, folders, lunchboxes and, yes, pencils, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s less than the national average of $96.39.

Fridell figures that the average likely would be lower in the Lawrence district, but still significant. She co-chaired the committee that came up with the supplies list for the more than 5,000 students who attend the district’s 15 elementary schools.

The effort, she said, yielded a “common-ground list,” featuring items commonly used in every school: a backpack, a pair of scissors, dry-erase markers and more.

“There were some things on the old supply list that were used at some schools and not at other schools,” Fridell said. “We were trying to come up with a common-ground list.”

Gossett isn’t getting rid of all the fun, though. Tucked away in two drawers at the back of class are stacks of baby wipes and a few sets of Play-Doh containers — leftovers soon to be pressed into instruction, perhaps by the end of the month.

“We’ve stocked up for the last three years,” she said, with a chuckle.

Gossett plans to borrow watercolors, as needed, from the school’s art teacher.


Bobbi Walls 7 years, 7 months ago

Actually shoes are required and it states that on the top of the school supply list.

weeslicket 7 years, 7 months ago

"Students should have shoes with flat, rubber soles, suitable for physical education." from:

should have does not mean required.

but, this is a testable hypothesis: perhaps you, or i, or rocketmom67 (to follow), or rocketmom67's kindergartener (also to follow), or some other kid, or their parents, walk into a school without THESE shoes. or even, no shoes at all. what will likely happen? would they be escorted out of the building? non-shoe compliance, perhaps?

(i've already seen the answer to this question, btw)

rocketmom67 7 years, 7 months ago

I had an incoming kindergartener ask me last year if she had to wear shoes to school. Sadly they do

Amy Heeter 7 years, 7 months ago

If the truth be told many teachers have stocked supplies from previous students in previous years. Example scissors are commonly retained items at the end of the term

weeslicket 7 years, 7 months ago

i absolutely re-stock re-usable items that have been left behind for whatever reason. as a teacher, i'm thrifty like that.

desired collectibles include: scissors, colored pencils, red pencils, 2-pocket folders and markers. undesireds include: crayons and water colors. i would also offer that loose leaf paper and folders are far cheaper, and easier to manage, than spiral notebooks and three ring binders and trapper-keeper type devices.

easier and cheaper. boggles the mind, it does.

weeslicket 7 years, 7 months ago

i forgot kleenex. there are never enough boxes of kleenexes in the room to survive the year. (of course, that's really because only about half of the kids come in with the requested 2 boxes of kleenex, and the other half don't bring any. it's a terribly complicated micro-ecomonic mathematical problem.) anyways.

avhjmlk 7 years, 7 months ago

I have to say, I live in a completely different school district, and my child's 1st grade list had ONLY the following things on it: -#2 pencils -Pink or Green erasers -8oz white glue -16-pack crayons -8 washable markers -cigar-sized pencil box -2 boxes of kleenex

We'll use last year's backpack, and still have last year's 3-ring binder if it's needed. For kindergarten, the list was even shorter, and one of the things on it was a paint shirt from home. My child finished kindergarten knowing how to read, add, count, write, and all of the other things I would have expected, WITHOUT having to buy a boatload of school supplies.

sourpuss 7 years, 7 months ago

Bravo to your school district. Let's be reasonable: Do you need baby wipes? What does a first-grader need with dry-erase markers? Watercoloring is difficult and frustrating - crayons are fine for children. Kleenexes go into a communal supply and we had that in my day as well. All a child really needs is some paper, pencils, erasers and some cheap art supplies. I am glad your district is run by intelligent, reasonable people. If only Lawrence's were.

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