Courtney

ClearTheList Foundation Says Teachers Need More Virtual Learning Tools

By: Julie Loffredi, National Content Desk

Due to covid-19, the 2020-2021 school year will look much different for communities across the country. Students may return back to class in-person — or learn in a virtual environment. As school districts adapt to new changes, Courtney Jones, founder of the ClearTheList Foundation,  says teachers will need extra supplies and support to best cope during these challenging times:

Q: What makes this school year different, when it comes to supplies? 

Jones: This past year, schools and teachers have had to stretch the idea of what a classroom looks like for students. As we face an unprecedented back-to-school season, teachers will again need to rethink what a classroom looks like – whether in-person or virtually.

For teachers who will have students in-person, the classroom will look much different and the need for supplies will increase dramatically. Classrooms will no longer be a communal space where students can share books, toys, learning aids, craft supplies such as crayons and markers, and more. Instead, classrooms and families will need to equip each student with their own individual supplies to minimize the sharing of high-touch materials.

Teachers who face another year of virtual education will need more expensive supplies for themselves and their students including web cameras and tablets to connect with students and dry erase boards for lessons.

Q: What supplies are typically needed for classrooms?

Jones: No two classrooms are alike in their needs, as most rely on their school and district for guidance on specific supplies and textbooks. However, I’ve found that most teachers need notebooks, writing utensils and tissues, or other hygiene supplies. This year, we’ve seen an increase in virtual learning tools like headphones, tablets, and even mobile whiteboards.

Q: Why do teachers tend to come up short with needed supplies? 

Jones: As a teacher, I know first-hand the struggles educators face preparing their classrooms during the back-to-school season. For many, it’s a matter of school funding or a lack thereof. I knew there had to be a better way to ensure teachers received the resources needed so I founded the foundation in 2019 with the intention of teachers receiving assistance from their local communities. I’m also proud to partner with Clorox as part of its $1 million donations to expand upon our movement that started last year and ensure that teachers around the country have the necessary supplies they need to succeed this school year. 

Q: How can parents and kids help out?

Jones: Contact your teacher or local school to gauge their supply needs and ask whether they created a wishlist on our website. The supplies purchased through ClearTheList will be shipped directly to your teacher from the retailers, and funds from every item purchased will go to support your local school.

Even if you’re not a parent of a current student, you can still support by contacting your local school to see if they have any supply needs. If you need a little inspiration, consider supporting your alma mater or a school in your community that could use a boost.

Q: A new survey found that teachers are in need of many supplies this year, what surprised you about those results?

Jones: I was most surprised by the survey data focused on teachers continuing to educate students during the pandemic. The fact that the majority of teachers (88%) worry students won’t have the supplies they need at home to support remote learning really made me feel for those teaching right now. I especially feel for those teachers who report working in underserved schools, with 94% of them stating they feel worried about a lack of supplies at students’ homes. All students should have equal access to basic school supplies, and it breaks my heart that providing something as simple as a notebook may be a challenge.

Through Clorox’s $1 million donation, teachers can visit ClearTheListFoundation.org to apply for a grant to have up to $500 worth of supplies cleared from their list.

Credit: Photos courtesy of the Clorox brand by Bloom School Pictures