Smartboards, tablets and laptops can only do so much when it comes to a child’s education.
Before a student can navigate an online quiz or make use of the latest educational apps, they need to develop basic reading, writing and cognitive skills. Those kinds of basic lessons require some basic tools – materials like composition notebooks, pens and markers that have been a part of public education for decades.
That’s what makes the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation’s recent gift to four elementary schools in the district so valuable. The Foundation recently partnered with the city of Centennial, CH2M Hill and Comcast to donate a total of $4,000 worth of school supplies to Arrowhead. Mission Viejo, Summit and Sunrise elementary schools. The city of Centennial’s Youth Commission also contributed time and effort to the school supply grant. Those supplies include all of the staples of an old-fashioned classroom, including papers, pens and notebooks.
Cherry Creek Schools Foundation staff worked directly with the district’s executive directors of elementary schools to identify target schools for the grant.
According to Arrowhead Elementary Principal Heidi Shriver, those kinds of supplies play a key role in preparing students at the elementary school level.
“Truly, the technology piece is incredibly important … We integrate technology into our daily instruction,” Shriver said. “But it is important not to forget that kids still need to have a place to record their thinking and creatively work on their thinking. We use a lot of notebooks, pens, pencils and markers for those processes. That can’t get lost along with the technology.”
The cost of such simple materials can add up. For families in financial need, those kinds of costs can weigh heavy. Getting a backpack full of simple supplies can make a world of difference for a family with several children in school who are struggling to pay the bills.
“We gave away about four backpacks full of school supplies last night,” said Sunrise Elementary Assistant Principal Amy Cribbs, speaking a few days before the beginning of the school year. “For them, you could watch the smile on their faces appear, knowing they had everything they needed for school.”
On the first day of school, Cribbs and her colleagues distributed more backpacks. They treated the supplies like Christmas gifts, waiting until students were out of class for lunch and recess and dropping off the backpacks at their desks.
“They don’t feel any shame about it. They feel like they’re just like anybody else and they’re starting off at the same point as their classmates,” Cribbs said.
It’s a way for teachers, principals and administrators to serve an added role for their community, one that extends beyond a student’s dismissal at the end of the school day. Watching out for the larger Cherry Creek community is a central part of this grant, just as it’s a core mission of the Foundation.
“The Foundation is truly thrilled that we were able to create this wonderful first day of school for these students by partnering with the City of Centennial Youth Commission and local companies,” said Jill Henden, executive director of the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation. “This is really one of the main purposes of the Foundation, to create these partnerships within our community and to provide for the students of the district.”
-- Published Aug. 21, 2014