EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation teachers are getting help with classroom supplies from a new project called the Teacher Locker. The store allows teachers to shop for free classroom materials.
The Teacher Locker is located inside the Academy of Innovative Studies. It will be open to elementary school teachers initially, with plans for future expansion.
This is a big deal for many teachers who have to pay for classroom supplies. A study released last year by the The National Center for Education Statistics found that teachers spend on average $480 of their own money on classroom supplies per year.
The Teacher Locker is expected to open in August, just in time for the new school year. Shopping will be by appointment.
The shelves hold endless possibilities in the classroom. No item is too common for a teacher to turn into a learning tool.
“In my Kindergarten class, I may show you the number 4 and ask you to count out 4 items. Well, you don’t want to use the same 4 items every time. So maybe around like Christmas time these would come out because I have red and green cups or around Thanksgiving we’re counting forks and knives or things like that,” says Cynthia Heights Kindergarten Teacher Kellie Forney.
For Forney, the Teacher Locker sparks inspiration and provides the platform for teachers to bounce creative ideas off one another. Teachers can also request items to make their ideas come to life.
It is all made possible thanks to collaboration among local educational organizations. Public Educational Foundation, Evansville Area Council PTA, EVSC Foundation, Evansville Teachers Association, EVSC Retired Teachers and the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC) are all a part of the collaboration.
“This is really just a tangible example of a community that comes together to support our most valuable resource, our kids, and who supports our kids, but our teachers,” says EVSC Superintendent Dr. David Smith.
F.J. Reitz Chemistry Teacher Nora Walsh knows from experience that teachers are always thinking about their students.
“In stores we often get ideas about how to motivate and encourage our students, how to make our classrooms more inviting, and framing our lessons in ways that are engaging but still reach all students. But sometimes these ideas lead to hard decisions because we want to do it all. Teacher locker is going to be a great asset to us in this regard,” says Walsh.
The Teacher Locker is currently fundraising to outfit the resource store. The EVSC Foundation has pledged to match the first $10,000 donated to the project.
Organizers are looking for volunteers and donations to keep the shelves stocked and maintained. For more information, to volunteer or donate, visit teacherlocker.org or email teacherlockerevv@gmailcom.