A few weeks ago Baltimore City Public Schools were in the news, I mean ALL over the news, for lack of heat and building maintenance in general. Everyone (on my timeline at least) had an opinion one way or another.
As many of my readers know I have been a teacher with Baltimore City Schools for the past ten years and I’m not even going to get into my opinion on the state of public schools, lack of funds, and support from all angles (I’ll definitely get into that later.)
ANYHOO… the news sparked an outcry for help. Go Fund Me accounts were created, free meals were given out and people vowed to do more for city schools. I know people mean well and I hope in days, weeks, months, and years to come that the energy to take care of our schools and in turn, our students are kept up.
So to all of the kindhearted people who truly want to help schools (Baltimore and any other districts in your area) here are a few things that you can do immediately to start helping.
Get Fingerprinted And Start Volunteering
Many public schools are underfunded, understaffed, and overcrowded. Some schools hide these deficits thanks to the dedicated staff who often times wear MANY different hats. We need additional hands-on support to better support students and to avoid burn out. We will take any amount of support you can give including cafeteria duty, reading to students, maybe even hall monitoring. To begin to immediately help find out the procedures in your district to get a background check (we have to keep these babies safe) and begin helping out where ever and whenever you can.
Donate Office and School Supplies
I’m not sure if people know this, but teachers in lots of classrooms provide their own supplies. Before teaching I worked for a private university and I had a budget for office supplies and even office decor. When I began working in city schools I was in complete and utter shock when I found that I was required to have certain things in my classroom and if I didn’t purchase these certain things I wouldn’t have them. I mean we buy SO many things but we want our students to be successful so we do what we have to do. Donating simple things like copy paper, notebook paper, glue sticks and pencils could be such a huge relief.
Pay Lunch Bills
We’re fortunate in my district for all students to receive free lunch, but that hasn’t and won’t always be the case. Some students depend on school lunch to eat daily and it can be embarrassing when they’re eating those thrown together meals students might receive when they have unpaid lunch balances.
Sponsor A Field Trip
Students and teachers alike love enriching field trip experiences and while many local organizations offer free admission to the schools-the school bus is not free and can cost a student between $7-$10 alone. Sponsoring an entire trip or just a bus can supply students with hands-on experiences that are much more valuable than reading and writing can ever do.
Call Local Schools and Ask What They Need
All schools, even within the same district, have different needs and/or budgets. If you have a school or schools in mind just give them a call. Ask where they currently need the most help and do what you can. Nothing is too small and I guarantee they will appreciate it.
There is so much more needed to improve the current state of public school education, these are small and immediate ways you can begin to help make a difference.