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Stuff-the-Bus collects supplies for teachers

FEP Executive Director Katisha Blackwell

Stuff-the-Bus collects supplies for teachers
August 24
05:00 2017

As hundreds of teachers got school supplies for their classrooms from the Educator Warehouse, a bus outside was collecting items to fill it back up.

The Educator Warehouse offers free supplies for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools teachers. Supplies include both school necessities for children who forgot their supplies or simply couldn’t afford them, and items that teachers use themselves. The average teacher spends $700 a year on school supplies. The warehouse, which is located in a 16-room pod at Diggs-Latham Elementary School, opened last Thursday, Aug.17, and was expected to see more than 700 teachers before the end of last weekend.

The warehouse is a partnership between the school system, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County PTA and Forsyth Educator Partnership (FEP). In an effort to help replenish the warehouse’s supplies, the FEP had a “Stuff-the-Bus” event in the Diggs-Latham parking lot to collect school supplies on Thursday and Friday. FEP Executive Director Katisha Blackwell manned the school bus in the parking lot and estimated she collected at least $3,000 worth of supplies in the first day alone. 

“The community showed up very well to help us give teachers tools for school,” said Blackwell.

Kona Ice was also on hand at the school and donated $2 of each ice cup sold to Educator Warehouse.

FEP is formerly known as the Forsyth Education Partnership and tweaked the wording to “Educator Partnership” with the new slogan “For the love of teachers” to show its devotion to teachers. FEP is an independent nonprofit organization that helps teachers and promotes student engagement. The group has awarded more than $35,000 to more than 70 teachers in just two years through its Innovation Grants for Teaching.

Inside the Educator Warehouse, teachers filled carts, bags and boxes with supplies while using clipboards to keep track of the “points” they’ve been allocated for the quarter to “buy” items.

Teachers loaded up on things like hand sanitizer, markers, pens, pencils, facial tissue, paper and notepads in the supply room. They got books from the library room to build their own classroom’s libraries. There’s also rooms filled with books and supplies for subjects like language arts, social studies, math and science along with arts supplies and decor for the classroom.

Brooke Gartley, an English teacher at West Forsyth, has been a teacher for four years but Friday was her first trip to Educator Warehouse. She said she wished she’d used the warehouse her entire career.

“It’s really cool to be able to stock up without having to break the bank,” said Gartley.

Theresa Bryant, who is also an English teacher at West Forsyth, has been a teacher for 18 years and regularly goes to the Educator Warehouse. She said it’s been an invaluable service especially with growing class sizes that make teachers responsible for a larger number of students. 

“We want to make sure that each kid gets the opportunity to have the resources to get the same education,” said Bryant. “We want to give them an equal playing field and this helps us do that.”

For more information about FEP and donating money, volunteer hours or school supplies, visit forsythedpartnership.org.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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