I teach at a therapeutic special education school serving approximately 82 students who have been unable to succeed in a general education setting due to intense emotional and behavioral needs. 100% of my students receive free lunch, making our school one of the highest poverty schools in the district. Some of our students are in foster care, experiencing homelessness, and nearly all have faced great struggles in their lives.
Our school is located in an old warehouse, but I am determined to help my students reach beyond their current circumstances, with the hope of them eventually returning back to their neighborhood schools and into the general education environment.
It is often very heartbreaking to teach children as young as five who have already been pulled out of their neighborhood schools to attend a school for at-risk children with mental health issues and severe behavioral problems due to trauma. However, because my students are so young, I am confident that my classroom can steer their behavior and academics in the right direction.
Despite so many hardships, my students are incredible children with boundless potential. Most of them have faced difficult home lives and traumas that greatly affect their behavior.
The students in my classroom are constantly learning new things and working hard. We are constantly using basic classroom supplies to get our work done, and we could greatly use a replenishment of things like markers, pencils, and glue sticks. I am requesting enough supplies so each of my students in my next rotation of classes (not my homeroom, my first period) will have his or her own box of markers, pack of pencils, and pack of glue sticks. I am also requesting a big box of markers for a classroom set.
My students all have special needs, but that doesn't stop us from working hard and completing many assignments!
Thus, we need new materials! Most students from well-advantaged backgrounds start school with fresh supplies, however this is not a possibility for my students. Their families simply do not have the resources to purchase new supplies every year for their children. I am the reading and social skills teacher, and part of social skills is the "school store", and through this I teach financial literacy. Students will use these resources when learning literacy, financial literacy, and social skills. Additionally, financial literacy starts with literacy.
Even though I teach in a highly unique setting, our classroom is just like regular classrooms in so many ways! My students still love to do things that all children do, such as color, write, and complete crafts. We need basics in order for our classroom to keep running smoothly and efficiently. My students already face so many obstacles throughout the day-a lack of materials shouldn't be one of them. The arrival of these fresh new materials will bring joy to both students and staff. These materials will build their confidence to complete their work and excel in their assignments.
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