Teachers Can Now Order Online at Educator Warehouse
By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
JANUARY 5, 2018 – The Educator Warehouse was established to help ensure that students and teachers have supplies that they need and to help teachers save money.
Until now, teachers coming to the warehouse have had to use some of their shopping time selecting such standard basics as pencils, notebook paper, and markers. Starting today, teachers can place an order online for such items, and the supplies will be waiting for them when they arrive.
That means they can spend their time looking for items best chosen according to their own tastes and needs, such as posters, materials for decorating bulletin boards, and books.
It’s just one more way in which the people running a warehouse – a collaboration of Forsyth Educator Partnership and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Council of PTA with the support of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools – are striving to serve and support teachers.
“I hope that it makes it a little bit more convenient for them and more time-efficient,” said Kendra Hoyle, the manager of the Educator Warehouse.
“It allows them to have those basic supplies ready to go,” said Angie Vaughn, the president of the Forsyth Educator Partnership.
The experience for teachers is being enhanced in other ways as well.
Hoyle’s position has been changed from part-time to full-time, giving her more time to organize materials at the warehouse, put together online orders, and help teachers. Plus, school system employees have completely refurbished the mobile unit at Diggs-Latham Elementary School that serves as the home for the warehouse, making it a much more comfortable place to shop.
“It’s pretty much a brand-new refurbished warehouse,” Vaughn said. “It’s nicer for teachers to come in and get supplies.”
Helping Hoyle at the warehouse are such dedicated volunteers as Addie Hymes, who retired from the school system. She is one of about 15 adult volunteers. About 50 students, many of them Crosby Scholars, volunteer at the warehouse during the course of the school year.
The warehouse is just one of several Forsyth Educator Partnership programs that serve teachers and students. Other programs include the Poet Laureate competition, the Teachers of PROMISE Awards, and the Innovative Grants for Teaching.
As it happens, the partnership is looking for someone to oversee all of those programs as executive director. Applications for the job – a 20-hours-a-week position – are being accepted through Monday, Jan. 8.
Vaughn said that they definitely want someone with a “go-getter attitude” and would be delighted to have someone with extensive experience with the school system, perhaps someone who has retired and is looking to stay involved.
The people at the warehouse are putting the online ordering program into place in part because teachers, who already have a packed schedule, said that they would like to have more time to focus on picking out the materials that only they can choose.
Along with feedback from teachers, the people at the warehouse have solicited the input of people working out of Central Office about materials that teachers need. That feedback led to the warehouse stocking more materials that help teachers with hands-on projects related to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) learning.
For example, thanks to a donation by Peggy Chappell, who once worked as a seamstress for the Hanes family, the warehouse now offers wooden thread spools that teachers can use for math-manipulation activities.
Thanks to Susan Tague, a long-time supporter of the partnership who designs websites, and her husband, Brian Tague, a professor at Wake Forest University, the partnership now has a more sophisticated website that enables such possibilities as online ordering.
“Susan is a godsend,” Vaughn said.
Hoyle has also been active in enhancing the website, Susan Tague said. “Kendra has great skills.”
Hoyle, who has a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Mississippi State, is in her third year working at the warehouse. Since she was a girl, she said, she has enjoyed organizing things. So being able to do that adds to her enjoyment of working at the warehouse.
The website includes information about the other partnership programs, as well as an application for the executive director position and information about supporting the warehouse by donating money, supplies or time. As a way of honoring a teacher, donations can be made in the name of a particular teacher.
The people at the warehouse are working to get more teachers using the warehouse.
“We would like to get more teachers who have never shopped here,” Vaughn said.
Word is getting out. During the last quarter, 210 of the 681 teachers who shopped at the warehouse were there for the first time.
Another partnership program that supports teachers is the Innovative Grants for Teaching. Sponsored by Woody Clinard, the grants, which range from $50 to $500, allow teachers to enhance learning opportunities for their students. In October, 29 teachers were awarded an Innovative Grant.
“We are really trying to make it so they have what they need to teach their students,” Vaughn said.
As a veteran teacher, Vaughn, who retired after teaching for 30 years and who now teaches part-time at Main Street Academy, knows a great deal about how to support teachers.
“How can we work to help teachers do their job?” is a question that she and others with the partnership regularly ask themselves.
One way in which they work to support and encourage new teachers is through the Teachers of PROMISE (Potential, Responsibility, Optimism, Motivation, Ingenuity, Sensitivity, and Excellence) Awards, given to a number of first-year teachers nominated by the principal at the school where they teach. They and other first-year teachers are honored each year at a dinner in the spring.
The partnership also works to encourage students.
Each year, the creativity of students is acknowledged and supported through the Poet Laureate competition in which students write and perform poems. This year, the competition is scheduled for April 19.
In conjunction with the Poet Laureate competition, students in the school system are invited to submit art to be published in a book with the poems. Tague said that, each year, some of that independently produced art pieces prove to be perfect illustrations for some of the poems.
Now back to some particulars about the Education Warehouse:
Only full-time classroom teachers are eligible to use the warehouse. Each quarter, teachers who visit the warehouse are assigned 25 points to spend. Those who bring their own shopping bags receive an extra 2 points. Items donated to the warehouse are assigned points based on what a new item would sell for in an office supply store or what a used item might sell for in a thrift store. Depending on what teachers choose, they may be able to “buy” up to $200 worth of materials each quarter for a total of $800 for the year.
The warehouse is open to teachers from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 9 to 11 a.m. every first and third Saturday. Before shopping, teachers are asked to register online, using their school system email address to make an appointment at least one day in advance. To register and make an appointment, go to http://forsythedpartnership.org/teachers-only/
To learn more about other programs or to apply for the position of executive director, go to http://forsythedpartnership.org/
A number of businesses and organizations support the warehouse. They include:
Alan Tate Realty
First Baptist Church of Winston-Salem
Forsyth Woman magazine
Professional Women Builders
Rep Force One
Salem Creek Friends Meeting
Tarheel Basement Systems
Taylor Tennis Center
Twin City Santa
Wake Forest Financial Services
Wake Law Department
Wake Organ Transplant
Walmart in Kernersville
Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools