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!