“These kids are so excited about a book.”
Heather Mitchell is a 2nd grade teacher at McKinley Elementary School in Erie, Pennsylvania. Her classroom is home to students from all over the world, and many are English Language Learners. Often their home lives are difficult, some without parents there to raise them. For that reason, the classroom is an important place, and Ms. Mitchell says they’re a “really caring group of kids who work really well together and have learned together like a family base.”
“I want them to have all the opportunities every kid can have.”
The kids all love reading, math, and life science. Still, coming to school without any basic school supplies, it can be hard to learn. For this reason Ms. Mitchell supplies everything they need, folders, markers, scissors, notebooks, and even backpacks. “It gets expensive,” she admits, but “I love that the kids are so appreciative of the smallest things.”
“I’ll put new pencils in the pencil box and the kids will get so excited.”
McKinley Elementary School is an underprivileged school that requires the teachers to purchase all of their own supplies for the classroom. “The office supplies us with pencils, but I have to supply everything else,” she said. “I’m not really in a place to send a note home just because I know so many of their backgrounds and the parents struggle to supply home-based needs, so school-based needs cannot be supplied for.”
“In a year I usually spend $800 to $1000 between books and supplies.”
Ms. Mitchell works hard to engage all students, using teaching that targets different areas of the brain. Not only does Ms. Mitchell buy supplies, she has also created an incentive program for her students to work on their academics as well as behavior in the classroom. Donations to her AdoptAClassroom.org page would help her give her students the best chance to succeed, and take some of the stress off of Ms. Mitchell,
“I don’t want them to miss out,” she said, “so I just buy it.”
Heather Mitchell’s Classroom: Funding Need: Literacy, reading materials; Grade: 2nd; Location: Erie, Pennsylvania.
July Featured Classroom
It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of funding projects that aim for innovative technology or big classroom improvements. Those projects are great, but this month we’re focusing on two less-sexy but just as important classrooms that need help with the little things.
These students, and the teachers who do everything they can to support them, need pencils and deodorant and books to read. They’re not asking much, but those small things would make a huge difference in their school experience. Check out our other featured classrooms here.