Site helps supply teachers

An art teacher at Millbrook Elementary School in Aiken has plastic storage bins and fluffy, shiny, sparkly craft supplies on her wish list.

A Westside High School instructor would like to buy student response systems, or hand-held "clickers" that help teachers interact with students, for his physics class. Stacey Dennis, an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Columbia Middle School, wants to purchase new books for her classroom to get her pupils excited about reading.

These are just some of the needs that local teachers have registered with Adopt-A-Classroom, an online, Miami-based nonprofit organization founded in 1998 to help teachers purchase supplies for their classrooms.

"The kids get to take some ownership in what is purchased for their class," Ms. Dennis said. "It gets the community involved."

One of her pupils, Mitch Davis, 13, said he would like to get more biographies for the classroom library, and Lexis Niedling, 14, would like to get more novels like Cold Sassy Tree, which the class is reading.

"If we get more materials, I think people would be more interested and want to read more," she said.

According to Adopt-A-Classroom , none of the 67 classrooms that have registered for the program in Richmond, Columbia and Aiken counties has been adopted. The minimum donation was reduced from $500 to $25 per donor a year ago.

Rosemary Jalink, the Adopt-A-Classroom programs director, said the minimum contribution was cut to help nonbusiness partners such as parents and PTOs participate in the program. She also said participation has grown primarily by word-of-mouth in the communities in which it has been successful.

"The teachers get 100 percent of your donation. That goes right into their account for them to spend," Ms. Jalink said.

Ms. Dennis said she sometimes uses her own money for classroom supplies, but she did not know how much she spends.

"I don't really keep up with it. If you do, it can be depressing at times," she said. "But any good teacher knows that that's going to be part of it."

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (706) 868-1222, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.

HOW IT WORKS

Adopt-A-Classroom provides each registered teacher with an online "e-wallet" account. Donations are deposited directly into the online accounts, and the teachers can use the funds to purchase supplies from online vendors that are affiliated with the program. The contributions are tax-deductible, and no money is sent directly to teachers. Adopt-A-Classroom sends each donor a report that describes how the funds were spent.

For a complete list of classrooms that have registered for adoption, log on to: www.adoptaclassroom.com.

Source: www.adoptaclassroom.com