What They Need for Success

By Krista Carman

It probably isn’t a surprise to many Prescottonians that most classroom teachers spend their own personal money on necessary classroom supplies like writing paper, file folders, notebooks, envelopes, pencil sharpeners, pencils, pens, highlighters, crayons, glue sticks, markers, calculators, clipboards, erasers, and essentials like hand soap, Band-Aids, and Kleenex. Some teachers even purchase snacks for their students. Someone outside the education system may believe the school district should supply many of the items teachers purchase. Unfortunately, due to a slim state education budget, that’s just not feasible.

According to a recent survey released by the National Center for Education Statistics, Arizona ranks sixth in the country for the most personal money spent by teachers, with an average of $655 spent annually on classroom supplies. The national average is $479; Arizona teachers spend 36 percent more than that. In the Prescott Unified School District (PUSD), the starting salary for a Certified Teacher in the 2019/2020 school year is $36,084, so spending any money on classroom supplies can be difficult.

This is why, after recognizing this tremendous need, the PUSD Education Foundation opened its Teacher’s Supply Closet last Spring. Jane Robertson, a member of the PUSD Education Foundation Board and a retired teacher from Abia Judd Elementary School, has spearheaded this effort for the Education Foundation. She was Arizona’s Teacher of the Year in 2004, so she knows firsthand what our teachers need in the classroom to be successful.  Jane opened the Teacher’s Supply Closet last March, in conjunction with the PUSD Family Resource Center, and intends to continue meeting the needs of all PUSD teachers by opening up the Teacher’s Supply Closet the first Tuesday of the month from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. at district headquarters at Washington School on Gurley Street. If Jane doesn’t have the supplies in stock, she will often go shopping the following day and personally deliver the needed items at each school.

The PUSD Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, launched in 2015.  The Foundation receives financial support from individuals, businesses, and private foundations and, since its inception, has raised nearly $600,000 in support of the school district. PUSD Education Foundation’s vision is that every teacher and student will have a fully funded and innovative education to ensure the stronger character and long-term success.

In addition to opening the Teacher’s Supply Closet, the PUSD Education Foundation provides Innovative Teaching Grants, which supports programs such as the NEW Engineering class at Prescott High School, and the District-wide college and career prep software program, Naviance.  At its Annual Rising Stars Banquet, the Education Foundation honors several Star Graduates from Prescott High School and their most influential PUSD teacher or staff member. The Education Foundation also sees the value of recognizing the hard work of district educators by sponsoring the GEM and Teacher in Excellence Awards.

If you would like to learn more about the PUSD Education Foundation, please visit its website at www.PUSDEducationFoundation.com or call their Executive Director, Tami Phillips, at 928.445.5400 extension 70136.