WILLIAMSBURG — WJCC Schools began fulfilling orders this month through its new volunteer-run Teacher Supply Shop, a new initiative aimed at providing division staff with much-needed supplies at no cost.
The shop will serve as a one-stop resource for teachers, librarians, social workers, and other division staff to receive free supplies.
The Teacher Supply Shop is made possible by donations from individuals within the community and beyond, as well as from local businesses and organizations. A donation of $10,000 from the WJCC Schools Foundation was instrumental in kickstarting the shop and provide a wide range of essential supplies.
“Our school staff shows unwavering dedication to our students and the community; the WJCC Schools Foundation is honored to give back and support our teachers and staff who give so much,” said Penny Pulley, the WJCC Schools Foundation chair.
“We are grateful to have such a generous partner in WJCC Schools Foundation to help fund our new Teacher Supply Shop,” added Olwen Herron, Superintendent of Williamsburg James City County Schools.
According to the National Education Association, more than 90% of teachers spend their own money on school supplies and other items their students need to succeed. How much a teacher might spend depends on a variety of factors and has no reliable amount spent according to The John Locke Foundation, a think tank.
“I love the profession, but we spend our own money on supplies. Not all of the supplies we purchase, but a good amount of them. My husband is a teacher as well, so we’re both on a teacher’s salary. To have the opportunity to have a little bit of help — it definitely helps! [Receiving my order] felt good. Little things like that definitely help. Every little bit helps,” said WJCC teacher, Jenny Pritchard, Art Teacher at Laurel Lane Elementary School.
Each staff member gets 100 Teacher Supply Shop Bucks, so no real money is used. Each item in the shop is valued at a different number of points for the teachers to spend on as needed. Teachers are allowed to place one order per month and spend up to a maximum of 25 of their Supply Shop Bucks per order. All of the orders are placed online and then delivered to the teacher.
Currently, the system is automated so that the teachers who place an order before early June receive 10% of the points back. WJCC is working on giving rewards throughout the year to replenish the teacher’s Supply Shop Bucks. Supplies will be restocked regularly based on demand.
“We would love to have laminating sheets, more storage kinds of containers, more post-it notes, and things like that. So [the staff] are definitely providing us with continuous feedback [about what they need] and we’re taking all of that feedback and trying to shape what products we introduce,” said Ronnie Showah, Supervisor of Communications and Engagement.
Community members and organizations will be able to donate money or supplies online. It is also possible to host a supply drive or donate directly to the school district’s central office.
For more information, please visit the official Williamsburg James City County School District website.