CW community helps fulfill elementary schools’ supply needs

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Teachers everywhere dip into their own wallets to purchase supplies, but in Canal Winchester, the community is stepping up to help the Parent Teacher Organization finance some elementary school needs not covered by school funds.

While a classroom grant program for both the Indian Trail and Winchester Trail elementaries has been in place for several years, this is the first time the PTO reached out to the community for support.

“They started the classroom grant program so that teachers were able to purchase new items for their classroom without having to spend their personal money,” said PTO President Kristin Martin. “This was the first year we asked the community to help us. Before, we have just done general fundraisers to help cover the cost.”

According to Martin, there are 85 grants awarded. The total amount needed to cover all of the grants was reached within days through donations from individuals, parents and businesses.

“We thought the plan was great, and the community response left us speechless,” said Indian Trail Principal Eric Riddle. “What an amazing, giving community we have to support our staff and students. It builds a partnership among community stakeholders, and we—all of the staff at both buildings—are extremely grateful for their contribution to the academic needs of our students.”

Each teacher in grades one through five is eligible to apply for one $100 grant any time before a March 1, 2020 deadline. Kindergarten instructors are eligible for two grants since the school district has both morning and afternoon kindergarten classes. Teachers use the grants to buy flexible seating, create special reading/studying spaces, purchase new teaching materials, etc.

“We encourage the teachers to buy whatever they feel like is going to better the environment for students to learn,” said Martin. “These grants allow them to be creative in their teaching approach and it gives them the freedom to purchase items to meet the needs of their specific classrooms. Some teachers have purchased gardening supplies to go outdoors, some have used the funds to create sensory paths for students. There is a wide variety on what the funds are used for.”

Martin said concepts like the grant program are important because it indicates to teachers how much they are valued and how much the community is behind them to succeed with every one of their students.

In addition to collecting donations for the classroom grant program, Martin said the PTO also conducts Spirit Wear sales several time a year and raises the rest of their funds through events instead of selling items where the school only sees a small percentage of the sales.

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