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CLASSROOM CONNECTIONS OF ECI
IN THE NEWS

A LETTER FROM OUR EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR.

Our nonprofit’s board of directors has been working diligently to stay current with the times,  even prior to the COVID19 pandemic. Survey work was conducted during the Fall of 2019 to get input from our “users” including teachers, donors, businesses, and volunteers about possibly updating our nonprofit’s name. It was apparent from the responses we got back that it was time for a change. Respondents stated that our former name, Back To School Teachers Store, while it had served its purpose for many years, no longer captured our true impact we had in our community. Our new name, Classroom Connections of East Central Indiana (ECI), does a much better job. The name, Classroom Connections of ECI, was first offered up as a possible new name by several teachers who frequent our nonprofit for our donated school supplies. The new name also celebrates our expansion of services to teachers and schools in Madison County and the surrounding East Central Indiana counties in the upcoming months.

  

Local classroom needs are a year-round phenomenon now, not something that happens just  during the back-to-school months. Downturns in our regional economy spanning over multiple generations have impacted today’s families and their abilities to pay for needed, year-round  school supplies. Because of this, significant inequities exist in our community’s classrooms,  revealing stark differences between wealthier neighboring schools. Classrooms with high free  and reduced lunch populations just don’t have the same advantages to equip and access  supplies needed for academic success. We are connecting donors, businesses and volunteers  to teachers and their classrooms. We are connecting teachers to their students through the  supplies they get from our nonprofit. We are addressing inequities that exist in our local classrooms, while strengthening teacher-student relationships.

In efforts to cover supply deficits, teachers have  historically spent the equivalent of two paychecks  annually to help their students in need. Here is where Classroom Connections of ECI has  significantly helped our community. For nearly 20 years, our nonprofit’s educational resource center  has connected donors, businesses, and volunteers  to classrooms and teachers in need of supplies.  Teachers tell us that we are making significant, life changing classroom connections.

While we provide lots of back-to-school supplies annually, some of our largest school supply  requests come in November and then again in January when most back-to-school supplies are  broken, worn out or lost from normal classroom use. We see this as a sign that teachers are  doing their jobs, and have spent significant instructional time teaching students how to write  with pencils and draw with crayons. By midterm, we should expect to find heavy casualties of  half-broken crayons and pencil nubs in a child’s supply cubby. 

 

For some classrooms, however, we know it takes a lot more pencils and crayons to  get the basic skills down. We know that classrooms with a high number of students  who start school not kindergarten-ready will go through a lot more school  supplies, have more crayon and pencil casualties, and need more tools for learning  to close their learning gaps. We’re making these important classroom connections. 

Classroom Connections of ECI works diligently with businesses and corporations to acquire  new classroom supply donations, and we support programs that capture surplus product  donations to prevent waste. We are making important connections and connecting donors to  our underserved classrooms. We’ll be transitioning to our new name and logo over the next  several months. Our nonprofit’s mission still aims to provide essential classroom supplies to  underserved teachers and students to ensure teachers can teach and learners can learn. Thank  you for supporting us as we expand our services to East Central Indiana.  

Thank you for being OUR local #classroomconnector!  

 

 

                                           Stacy Wheeler  

                                      Executive Director 

                                      director@classroomconnectionseci.org

 

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