I had the pleasure of joining our very dedicated Lawyers for Learning Committee this afternoon as they reviewed grant requests from the extraordinary teachers at School #29. Annually the Committee responds to grant applications from teachers totaling about $3500. The teachers are required to submit a pretty simple form, along with receipts, and a brief statement about how the money is to be utilized to the committee.
What struck me was the number of teachers that are buying these necessary supplies, books, teaching aids out of their own pocket, with no guarantee that they will actually be reimbursed. I was really surprised by all that I heard. I turned to the committee members that work in a firm setting at the table and asked the question, “can you imagine doing your job if you had to purchase your own office supplies?”
A special education teacher was requesting some teaching tools that were necessary for her to provide some basic teaching skills. Another teacher was seeking reimbursement for supplies for her science class. A third teaching was seeking hats and gloves for her per-schoolers that have none of these essential cold weather items. I was told one of the primary requests is for pencils. Pencils? This was mind-boggling to me.
I think back to the days when I wandered the halls of the Brighton Schools over the years for my three children, and I never took for granted how fortunate we were to be in this highly rated district. Occasional fundraisers, and lots of pasta dinners, and the customary boxes of Kleenex at the start of the year, but nothing like School 29.
I walked away thinking — we need to do more. We have about 75 lawyers and paralegals volunteering their time as mentors, but how do we raise awareness and dollars about this need for basic school supplies. We are aware of the many challenges confronting the Rochester City School District, and our LFL program is only one program in one school.
So just imagine if we could all do a little more…