As the 2019-2020 school year approaches, teachers across the Carolinas have already started preparing their classroom activities and assignments. Some teachers are already dipping into their own pockets to pay for school supplies for their students who don’t have the financial resources that their fellow students have.
One of those teachers is 2019 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Assistant Teacher of the Year Micah Fagan, who teaches at Northridge Middle School.
“We want to reach a lot of kids but each one counts,” said Fagan, “Every one that we reach is a milestone to me.”
But, Fagan believes that, when a student doesn’t have school supplies, that it puts the student on an uneven footing and they may not have the same opportunity for success as students who have supplies.
“Every student has a different background and different story,” Fagan said. “It's very important that parents don't have to choose between the basic necessities and providing school supplies."
Every school year, area teachers spend $500 to $1,000 of their own money on basic school supplies for their students. Wooten, along with other educators at over 190 Title I schools, utilizes the Classroom Central Free Store throughout the academic year. Classroom Central is a nonprofit that collects and distributes free school supplies to students living in poverty.
“We try to bridge whatever gaps are there, use whatever resources that we have available to us,” Fagan said. “Sometimes we fall short. Any program geared to helping provide students supplies and resources kind of levels the playing field for a lot of students -- just having those things and feeling prepared.”
The simple things that are required on most school supply lists range from a pencil to a backpack.
For the past 23 years, in partnership with Classroom Central and Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the WSOC-TV 9 School Tools program has collected school supplies, which are then distributed to students in grades K-12. These items play a big role in preparing students to be successful in the upcoming school year.
For many families, the needs of the home sometime outweigh the needs at school. When a family must choose between buying enough food for the evening dinner or paying the power bill, the pressure of purchasing school supplies is an added expense that families can’t afford.
The hope for this coming year is that every student in every class can succeed without any barriers.
“I think it is very important in bridging the gap, in helping students that wouldn't have it having the same opportunity and education and achieving what we all want to achieve the -- American dream,” Fagan said. “Having that opportunity to do that, I think, is big, and I think, as teachers, we play a huge role in helping create that dream.”
If your organization or business would like to get involved or help with 9 School Tools, or if you have an inspiring story to share, please email Kevin Campbell, public affairs manager for WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.
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