Justyce Bush, left, and Chasa’nae Brigham color pictures of the pets they have at home Friday during class at Perrin Woods Elementary School. Bill Lackey/Staff

More Springfield classrooms get free school supplies

An organization that helps teachers stock their classrooms has expanded its reach in Springfield.

Crayons to Classrooms is a Dayton-based nonprofit that provides teachers with free school supplies, Executive Director Steve Rubenstein said. It’s helped more than 33,000 students across the Miami Valley.

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It recently expanded from eight schools in the Springfield City School District to 15 schools in the district this year. Springfield teachers have received more than $558,000 in free supplies from 2013 until this May, before the expansion.

“In Springfield and our region, there are 111 schools that are considered high needs,” Rubenstein said. “There are 40,000 students that need school supplies. It’s been a problem in our region and it’s getting worse.”

When students don’t have school supplies, their motivation, self-esteem, readiness to learn and concentration are affected, he said.

Springfield City School District has many students whose families cannot afford to buy all of the required school supplies the kids need for a successful start of the year, Superintendent Bob Hill said. And with budget cuts and rising expenses, school leaders need to be careful how they spend the school’s money, he said.

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Some Perrin Woods teachers recently made the trip to the organization’s warehouse to get free school supplies. Teachers take a shopping cart through the warehouse and pick out what they need for students.

“This is a great thing for Springfield with our high poverty rate,” Hill said. “We do a pretty good job enabling our teachers to have supplies in the classroom but the reality is we still have supply lists for (families to buy). With Crayons to Classrooms, our teachers are able to provide the needs of the kids that we can’t provide for and their mom and dad can’t provide for.”

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Making sure students have what they need to succeed can make a major difference in a classroom setting, Hill said.

“It makes the kids feel better, it makes the teachers feel better and it’s really a relief in itself,” he said.

Anyone interested in learning more about Crayons to Classrooms or to see how they might be able to help can contact the organization at 937-528-6400.

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