GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - As the school year gets underway, many students will be starting classes without school supplies. That's where the non-profit Adopt a Classroom comes in.
The organization says more than half of American school children live in poverty, and teachers spend an average of $600 of their own money on supplies for their classrooms.
Adopt a Classroom was formed to help teachers and students get the supplies they need to succeed.
"At back to school time, it's a particularly important time for teachers to re-stock, to suit out their classrooms for the school year. So this is a great time to support your teachers by donating to Adopt a Classroom," said Adopt a Classroom COO Ann Pifer.
Donors can visit adoptaclassroom.org and look up specific teachers by name, or donate to a general fund or specific subject area. Donations are taken throughout the year, with needs increasing again in the second half of the year.
Throughout the week, KARE 11 Sunrise is featuring the stories of four metro area teachers:
Tina Fahnestock/Highland Park Sr. High
Tina Fahnestock specializes in speech and language for students with special needs at Highland Park Senior High in Saint Paul. She first received donations through the organization last year, and told us what a difference it makes.
"It is critically important, especially for students that are learning to work on their social skills, the autism spectrum kids often need to really work on their skills with one another, working on games, playing game, learning how to interact, and get out in the community," Fahnestock said.
Fahnestock's Adopt a Classroom page can be found here.
Jenna Styles Spooner/Riverview Elementary
Jenna Styles Spooner is a dual-immersion Kindergarten teacher at Riverview Magnet Elementary in Saint Paul. She's looking for help with supplies as she teaches students in both English and Spanish.
"When you teach in Spanish, there's always things that are hard to find, so I spend a lot of my time finding the perfect book or the perfect materials or the perfect visuals to help my students learn in Spanish. A lot of times those things aren't readily available. So it's great to have some extra funds to help me teach in another language," Spooner said.
Spooner's donation page can be found here.
Becca Hanson/Groves Academy
Becca Hanson is an art teacher from Groves Academy in Saint Louis Park, which specializes in students with learning differences and attention disorders.
"Two years ago, I was buying over 1000 dollars worth of supplies for my kids because, instead of having them go without, I'd rather have it come from my own pocket. They're so amazing and special and really creative, and I don't want to limit them in any way," Hanson said.
Hanson's donation page is here.
Danielle Blumhoefer/Elk River School District
Danielle Blumhoefer is a special education teacher in the Elk River School District. She's used Adopt a Classroom in the past to get basic but necessary supplies for her students. She also makes sure the donors know how they're helping.
"They get updates from our kids, they get updates from us, so it's nothing like they give us money and they never hear from us again. Because we want the public to continue funding us, we do reach out. I reach out," Blumhoefer said.
Blumhoefer's donation page can be found here.