School Supply Lists

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.

Thank you.

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.

17 thoughts on “School Supply Lists

  1. Kathleen Trowbridge

    In a way I feel it takes away from the kids gearing up for a return to school routine! I always sent more than what was asked and had my child give all the extras to his teacher for those who may not have what they need. In addition I believe that picking out a fun folder or a neat crayon box helps they feel they have their own personality as a safety net! My son barely feels safe at school
    but coming in those first fews days with new things he got to pick out and are a part of home helps!! I am probably alone on this but I believe in some individuality in school as well as pieces of home at school because more kids than my son are scared and anxious at school and seek these small things out as needed!

    Really shocked by this form of communication about this plan as well.

    Hoping for a calm 2013-2014 year!

  2. Adrian Goneau

    Thank you! Am really happy not to have to spend $100 at Target for school supplies! I never minded buying pencils, crayons, and a notebook, but thought it was a bit much to be asked to buy tissues, clorox wipes, and ziploc bags!

  3. Carolyn Alessi

    I love the idea. Some families struggle to provide all that is on the list and teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies.I dont buy supplies for my office, they are provided. Parents can always contribute extra to the classroom, but this policy is sensitive to families that may struggle financially. The special backpack/lunchbox can always provide individuality. I wholeheartedly support this plan.

  4. sara

    My husband and I feel the same way as Kathleen. The school is taking away all the fun of back to school shopping.

  5. Kristine B.

    Since all the middle school students will be using iPads this year, why do we have to buy calculators for them (on the school supply lists)? I know there are calculator apps you can download for free, seems that this would be another way to utilize these!!!!

    1. EBee

      It might have to do with tests or quizzes and not being allowed to use the iPads on those, due to internet or other apps.

  6. Kim

    Thank you Dr. Conti! We think this is wonderful! Having multiple children, it got very expensive buying all the supplies. As for the disgruntled parents, there is still PLENTY of back to school shopping to do. Clothes, backpacks and lunch boxes, etc. Set up a homework desk in your home and they can have all the personalized pencil cases, erasers and folders they want! I also don’t see anywhere that Dr. Conti said children could not bring in their own supplies, if they wish.
    Looking forward to this taking effect in the older grades too!

    1. Carol

      Thanks, Dr Conti and the Burlington school system. It’s apparent you cannot make everyone happy.. Well said, Kim, there’s plenty of other back to school shopping to do . . .and plenty of other ways to express yourself as an individal without bringing in your own pencils!

  7. Stacey

    Thank you! Fantastic news, feeling grateful to live in a town with progressive education programs that incorporate technology and better prepare our students for the future.

  8. Kathleen Trowbridge

    I guess I am just too old school! Very proud of children who express themselves as individuals as well as feeling like I, as a parent, can and should contribute! I am also proud to speak my mind!!!

    Best wishes to all the students for 2013 – 2014!

  9. Susan Chanly

    Please… just tell me what to buy. Happy to supply the school but these communications are NOT helpful.

  10. Raul

    There are many school systems that can’t afford to buy school supplies for their students, for those parents that enjoy the experience maybe they can still purchase supplies and donate it to a kid(s) in need. Win/win for everyone and teaches our children a valuable lesson. Just an idea…

  11. Jasmine Antonik

    Thank you! I am very grateful that I do not have to purchase school supplies in addition to a backpack, lunch box, and all new clothes. Speaking of, does the school require uniforms? This will be our first year here and we are coming from Florida where uniforms are required in elementary school.

  12. Mrs. V.

    Great thinking! Thanks so much for doing this Dr Conti. Now I can spend more time with my kids buying fun cute stuff for them instead of buying for clorox and other boring things 🙂

  13. Pam Moreira

    So… I understand the reasoning behind this initiative but I think it should have started with the middle school as the lists for some years are tremendous with the 3-ring binder requirements. The elementary lists were minimal and usually suggestions not really requirements. I never felt I HAD to supply tissue, wipes, glue etc. but wanted to and my children enjoyed feeling like they were contributing. That being said we still did our back to school shopping and got supplies that we thought we needed, we will still contribute to classroom needs and be happy to do it, my one disappointment is that in the elementary level all the kids look forward to a letter from their teacher welcoming them to the classroom and the “list of supplies.” I have a sad student at home because no such letter came but others in her grade did receive a letter. I know we have a 2 more weeks of summer and hope we do receive a letter, we are checking the mailbox daily! Here’s hoping that the “no supply list” doesn’t mean no welcome letter!


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