- Highland Park Elementary
GPS teachers at Title I schools receive free supplies and classroom donations
A new community connection for Gilbert Public Schools is helping to support the needs of teachers at the district’s Title I campuses. More than four dozen GPS teachers were able to get free supplies for their classrooms and students due to the generosity of Feed the Children. The non-profit organization recently opened a Teacher Store in Chandler with the purpose of easing the financial burden of educators in the Valley.
“The goal of Feed the Children is to get supplies in the hands of students with the highest need. Our Title I schools are schools that have higher poverty, and we measure that by free and reduced lunch percentages,” said Angela Marler-Conner, the District Coordinator for Federal & State programs.
Currently, there are eight GPS elementary schools and one junior high that are recognized as Title I campuses in the district. A school’s Title I status can change year-to-year depending on its student population. To qualify for the federal program, a school must have a poverty level in their student population above 35 percent.
“Oftentimes, parents don’t have the money to purchase school supplies for their children, so the teachers provide them,” Marler-Conner said.
Feed the Children’s Teacher Store in Chandler is one of five locations across the country. The stores provide free books, school supplies, snacks for students, and other classroom necessities. In 2021, the stores donated items to more than 29,000 teachers, helping an estimated 803,500 students. This is the first year that Gilbert Public Schools has partnered with the organization.
GPS teachers are getting opportunities throughout the academic year to shop at the store. In February, 55 GPS teachers were able to get one bag filled with free school supplies, a box of children’s books, and one large item like a filing cabinet or desk chair. More than 2,000 pounds of donations were given to GPS teachers.
“This is $16,000 worth of supplies that teachers didn’t have to pay for. It didn’t come out of their pocket, and that’s the amazing part,” Marler-Conner said.
There are two more opportunities this year for GPS teachers on Title I campuses to go and shop. The scheduled dates take place when it is most convenient for teachers, like after-school or during school breaks.
“Next year, we are hoping to increase the number of days that our Title I teachers can shop,” she said.
To learn more about the grant programs that support Gilbert Public Schools, visit the Federal & State Programs section of our website!