Sandrock Elementary School pilots school supplies program | CraigDailyPress.com

Sandrock Elementary School pilots school supplies program

Staff at Sandrock give parents a break; buying general school supplies from area merchants

Pictured are some of the school supplies purchased for students by Sandrock Elementary School as part of a pilot program to simplify school supply shopping for parents while buying local.

— Parents of children going to Sandrock Elementary School have one less item to complete on their back to school task list.

Instead of hunting around town to acquire everything on a list of required supplies, Principal Kamisha Siminoe and her staff have done the shopping for parents.

For $20, less if the student qualifies for reduced or free school lunch, students will receive supplies needed to carry them through the school year.

The idea was first discussed in the spring, as last school year was wrapping-up.

"The leadership team of teachers came-up with the idea in the spring, vetted it to the rest of staff and worked through all the details," Siminoe said. "We had to take the supply list that is normally put out, where parents have to find folders and pencils of a certain kind, the list was paired-down to keep the cost to $20 per child."

The Sandrock leadership team hoped to accomplish four goals:

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• Ensure all students started the new school year with the supplies they needed.

• Create an equal playing field with all students having the same supplies.

• Provide an affordable and convenient process for parents.

• Buy from businesses located in Craig.

"We spent time asking if it was feasible, then we spent a lot of time pricing items and we wanted the money to stay here in Craig," said Sandrock Elementary Multi-grade Level Teacher Christa Shannon.

The idea was given the green light.

"We did all the bulk buying ourselves and we bought from local vendors," Siminoe said.

The pilot program might expand after this test year, and after any glitches are worked-out, as other area schools, merchants, students and parents might benefit by adopting similar programs.

"When principal Siminoe proposed the program to me I thought it was a great idea. We are excited to see how it goes," said Superintendent of Schools David Ulrich.

Reviews from parents, so far, have been positive.

"I wanted to give the principals kudos on the school supplies program. You're not going to have to buy school supplies, just give $20 and they'll buy the school supplies," said Tammie Thompson Booker, an elementary school parent.

In addition to saving parents time and money, the hope is that supplying all students with the same supplies ensures fairness and reduces conflict over classroom supplies.

"Many times there are things that teachers pull from the list to become communal property, sometimes this has been an issue for kids in the past." Siminoe said. "Every year we have a group (of students) that show-up without school supplies for a variety of reasons, but we wanted to level the playing field. Everyone will have school supplies from the moment they walk-in."

And teachers agree that this should make things easier.

"I hope this makes it easier for parents and helps the teachers so that all the kids have the same items," Shannon said.

Some parents have already paid the new supply fee. The school asks parents who have not yet paid to try to pay the $20 supply fee in the first week of school. Parents who have questions, concerns or qualify for assistance may contact the school at 970-824-3287.

"The school district is spending money locally. These sorts of little successes, shopping local, need to be shared. Every dollar spent in any of our local stores helps," Thompson Booker said.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.