This back-to-school season, Texas elementary teacher Courtney Jones started the #ClearTheLists movement that is highlighting the needs of individual teachers who are stocking their classrooms using their own money. Teachers across the country are taking part in this campaign, and education advocates, like Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, are providing teachers with funds to purchase the back-to-school supplies they desperately need.
AdoptAClassroom.org has partnered with Courtney to help spread the message that teachers need all the help they can get during the school year. To kick-off our partnership, Courtney spoke with us about the #ClearTheLists movement she started, and why it’s necessary to support our nation’s teachers.
AdoptAClassroom.org (AAC): How would you describe the #ClearTheLists movement?
Courtney: The #ClearTheLists movement is a campaign designed to boost teacher morale, and get resources into the hands of teachers and students, all while creating a national conversation about the lack of resources available to teachers and school professionals.
AAC: Why do you want to partner with AdoptAClassroom.org?
Courtney: I want to partner with AdoptAClassroom.org to help teachers receive items for their classrooms. It is a great avenue for teachers in private and public schools across the nation to receive resources and attention from different donors who want to support education.
AdoptAClassroom.org does a fantastic job at providing for teachers and students!
AAC: What drove you to start this movement?
Courtney: I started the movement to boost teacher morale through a pay-it-forward campaign to get supplies for classrooms, make connections, and build community amongst teachers, all while joining in unity to raise awareness about the funding issues in education across the country.
AAC: Why do teachers like you need support stocking their classrooms with school supplies?
Courtney: Teachers need support in their classrooms so we can have up-to-date research materials, high-quality materials and manipulatives, and basic supplies. Oftentimes, schools do not have sufficient budgets to help teachers purchase new books for their classroom libraries, manipulatives, or professional development resources to update their teaching strategies.
AAC: Do you spend your own money on classroom supplies? How much each year?
Courtney: Yes! I spend over $500 each year between supplies and supplemental curriculum.
AAC: What kind of supplies do you pay for out-of-pocket?
Courtney: I buy the basics, but mostly children’s literature to have an updated, high-quality library for my students. I also purchase lots of supplemental curriculum.
AAC: How much did you spend this back-to-school season and what did you purchase?
Courtney: This back-to-school season was different for me because of #ClearTheLists. Many people bought items and books to help supplement my classroom, so I only had to spend around $200.
AAC: What supplies do your students need most?
Courtney: My students most often need basic supplies such as paper and pencils, but also books, learning manipulatives, and organizational items.
AAC: You’re an advocate of supporting public, private, and charter school teachers. Why do you think it’s important to support all types of K-12 classrooms?
Courtney: I am a public school teacher, but I am not ignorant to the fact that teachers (and school professionals) from all types of schools are spending money out of their own pockets to provide for their students’ education.
AAC: You’ve gained a lot of public attention and partnered with many organizations, such as AdoptAClassroom.org, since #ClearTheLists started trending. Where do you hope your movement goes from here?
Courtney: It is important to me that we use the momentum to go to the next level of having conversations about the issue with our school boards, local and state governments, and the federal government. It is important that teachers and school professionals around the country step-up in their communities to advocate for their needs as professionals.
I hope to continue to partner with organizations such as AdoptAClassroom.org to inform teachers of the resources and opportunities available to them, and that teachers continue to advocate for their needs, and ultimately the needs of their students.
Are you a K-12 public, private, or charter school teacher? Register your classroom on AdoptAClassroom.org here.
Want to support classrooms? Find and fund a teacher or school here.