A few parents have called because they have not seen the elementary school supply lists that have traditional been sent home during the summer. We are trying something new this year. If we are successful, then we will extend this change into the middle and high school grades in future years.
What has changed?
Teachers have always spent their own money on classroom supplies. Parents have always wanted to help make their child’s classroom experience the best it could possibly be. Over the years this combination has created a school supply list that will sometimes extend into areas that the school or district should have responsibility for providing.
We decided to ask teachers what they needed to run their classrooms and to attempt to purchase these items in bulk as a school or as a district. While we will never stop teachers and parents from providing classroom materials, we are hoping that teachers will have all of the paper, tissues, markers, crayons, glue-sticks, etc. that they need to successfully run their classrooms without having to ask parents or to provide these items or having to provide these items themselves.
In addition to historical classroom provisioning habits, we are providing new organizational tools to students. As we develop new skills using these tools, our hope is that the classroom binder will be replaced by notes kept on a wireless device that can be tagged, categorized, and recalled much more efficiently. Clearly the practice of information curation and recall has changed from the three-ring binder or subject notebook we all used in school.
Please know that we know that there will be bumps along the way during this transition. We may miss some request or classroom supply. We just wanted to stop our past practice and attempt to build a classroom supply work flow that took the major burden off of teachers and parents.
Addendum: From several of the comments below, I should have been more clear. Parents can purchase school supplies if it is an important part of their individual school-year ritual. As a kid, I usually got new shoes. The district is attempting to eliminate the formal list of supplies from individual classrooms because we are purchasing in bulk and providing new tools that may make some of the traditional supplies unnecessary.