The end of August, not the beginning of January, marks the beginning of my new year. Although I'm a retired teacher, I still anticipate endless possibilities as a new school year arrives.
The signs of change began a few weeks ago. Open house dates appeared on message boards, and custodians readied buildings for opening day.
I walked into a store and noticed a back-to-school display. Ignoring my shopping list, I wandered over to touch bulletin board borders, Post-It notes and a myriad collection of new supplies.
I began to plan bulletin board displays and the arrangement of the classroom. Ideas for new lesson plans popped into my head. Each year is a clean slate for teachers and students.
On the first day of school, I always discussed expectations. Teaching was a learning experience for my students and me. I wanted each one to become involved in the learning process.
Some children were more prepared than others. I could not change difficult family circumstances, but I could help students gain acceptance and explore new possibilities.
Children want to succeed, but some families lack the resources to provide school supplies. WSOC-TV's 9 Family Focus is partnering with the Iredell-Statesville Schools to collect and provide supplies for needy children.
Collection barrels will be at nine Food Lion stores in the county, said Susie Wiberg, I-SS Partnership coordinator. Area businesses also are providing barrels for employee contributions.
Wiberg is hosting a barrel at the central schools office on Race Street in Statesville. Departments are competing to contribute the most supplies. “We're tracking the results,” Wiberg said.
Students need these items: paper, markers, paints, book bags, notebooks, pencils, pens, graph paper and pencil cases. “Small calculators would be great,” Wiberg said. Glue is not needed.
“I hope the campaign is successful. We start the school year with plenty of supplies and need more before September and October,” Wiberg said.
The campaign runs through August. A high school student collects items weekly and delivers them to the A.D. Rutherford Center. Teachers can visit the center to collect supplies for students.
Other ways to help
In addition to providing supplies for needy children, there are other ways the community can help our children achieve success. Schools need volunteers. Individuals can contact a school and offer their services.
The school system partners with United Way to provide a mentoring program for students in grades 4-8. A mentor is assigned to one student during the school year.
The volunteer assists the student with homework or reading for one hour each week. Sometimes, the session is just a time to talk.
Prospective mentors can request applications from Wiberg. A short training class is conducted at the United Way.
Another way to provide for children is to ensure that all students can participate in field trips. Schools accept donations. Donors can contact any school principal to provide funds for needy students, or contact Wiberg for a list of schools in need.