Beverly Rosenberg still spends her own money on her prekindergarten classroom at Monroe Elementary School, but a program that distributes office supplies and educational tools to Oklahoma City teachers eases some of the burden.
“It's invaluable,” Rosenberg said. “It just helps with some of the everyday things you need in class.”
She's one of hundreds of teachers throughout the city who rely on Teachers Warehouse.
Teachers Warehouse is a program run by the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, a nonprofit organization that supports the school district.
The project recently surpassed the $1 million mark in supplies given to teachers.
It shows the commitment the community has to teachers, said Lori Dickinson, president of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools. Everything that's come in has been in-kind donations.
“Oklahoma City can step up,” Dickinson said. “We want the best for each other. We never had to raise a dollar to purchase those supplies.”
Donors range from a person who buys extra markers during back-to-school shopping to a corporation buying in bulk, she said. All of it is important, she said, down to the smallest item.
“It's not just giving them a ream of paper,” she said. “It's giving a teacher a message of encouragement. This is from the community. Your job's important. What you're doing is important.”
Each month, teachers order supplies through the foundation website at tw.okckids.com, and then they come in and pick up their goods. Items range from copy paper to markers, to scissors to books. The available supplies change each month with donations from individuals and corporations.
More than 5,000 orders have been filled since the program began four years ago, according to the foundation. August had the highest-ever number of monthly orders with nearly 800.
The need for supplies for teachers is constant, Dickinson said, and the demands on teachers are always changing.
“Teachers have a hard job,” Dickinson said. “You're not just the teacher. You're the counselor. You're the coach. You're the nurse. You wear a whole lot of hats.”