The Educator Warehouse Is Open
After being closed for the summer, the Educator Warehouse has re-opened for the 2020-21 school year.
Online shopping is available now. Shopping in person at the warehouse is available now by appointment only. Shoppers will need to wear a mask and bring their own shopping bags.
To register to shop – and for more information – go to Educator Warehouse.
Once school starts, regular hours will be Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. (regular school days only) and Saturdays (first and third only) from 9 to 11 a.m.
The warehouse is located on the grounds of Diggs-Latham Elementary School at 986 Hutton St. The warehouse accepts donations, and people can drop off donations at the warehouse from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
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AUGUST 10, 2020 – The Educator Warehouse offers teachers the opportunity to pick up supplies for students and for their classrooms that they might otherwise have to pay for themselves.
“We know that a lot of teachers spend a lot of money out-of-pocket, and we want to do as much as we can to lighten that load,” said Kendra Hoyle, the Manager of the Educator Warehouse.
The warehouse does that by offering – at no cost to teachers – notebooks, pencils, and many more basics, along with books.
With students working at home, even more supplies will be needed this year, said Karel Chandler, the Chair of the warehouse’s Advisory Committee.
When meeting in a classroom, students could share scissors, markers and such. Now, each student will need all the materials at home, Chandler said. “So, now more than ever, getting supplies into the hands of those who need it most is crucial.”
In addition to books and the basics, the warehouse has many other items.
Thanks to a donation from a science supply company, the warehouse has such science equipment as microscopes, test tubes, and pipettes used to transport liquids in experiments.
The warehouse also has face masks that schools can use when needed.
In addition to such useful accessories as the Periodic Table of Elements, the warehouse has some fun items, such as accessories that a teacher could use for a wacky-tacky dress-up day.
“We have different and unusual things where the teachers can use their imagination,” Chandler said.
And JOANN Fabric and Crafts regularly donates seasonal items that can be used to decorate a virtual classroom for holidays.
In supporting teachers, the warehouse also supports students, Chandler said.
“My purpose is for every child to have the necessary school supplies to start the day every day of the year,” she said.
On Monday Aug. 3, Courtney Tucker, who teaches computer science at Flat Rock Middle, was one of the teachers shopping in person at the Educator Warehouse.
Tucker said she has been shopping there for years.
“I come as soon as I can come,” she said.
In addition to picking up things she knows she will need, she likes the adventure of finding things she didn’t know she needed until she saw them.
“It gives me ideas,” she said.
Tucker appreciates the warehouse.
“It’s a great thing,” Tucker said. “We are fortunate.”
After teaching at the N.C. Virtual Academy, which is based in Durham, Gwen Ashburn is becoming a first-grade teacher at Piney Grove Elementary this year. In particular, she was looking for items to use to set up her virtual classroom. She appreciated that the warehouse had so much to offer.
“This is phenomenal,” Ashburn said.
The warehouse is a collaboration of the Forsyth Educator Partnership, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Council of PTAs, and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
When teachers come to shop, Chandler said, they will need to wear a mask and bring their own bags to hold the materials they select.
The people at the warehouse would like to be able to offer curbside delivery to those who order online, she said, but they do not have enough volunteers to make that practical.
The people at the warehouse work really hard to keep everything clean and sanitized, she said.
This is the 10th school year for the warehouse.
Teachers are eligible to come once per quarter. Hoyle hopes that teachers come not only at the beginning of the school year but throughout the year.
While the majority of the shoppers teach elementary schools, the warehouse has much that can be of assistance to teachers in middle and high school, Hoyle said.
For instance, publishers donate books and teachers donate books they no longer need. Books on hand include ones that students are assigned to read.
So teachers could pick up books to give or loan to students who might otherwise have difficulty obtaining a copy.
“We are definitely a great source for a classroom library,” Hoyle said.
People throughout the community are invited to donate items.
For those wishing to donate, especially needed supplies include glue sticks, hand sanitizers and facial tissues. Other items on the wish list include wooden pencils, notebook paper, crayons, composition books, erasers, mechanical pencils, paper clips.
The warehouse cannot accept such outdated items as cassettes and VHS tapes and such outdated equipment as overhead projectors.
Nor can it accept electronics, clothing or furniture, with the exception of some bookcases. Those wanting to donate a bookcase should check first with the people at the warehouse.
When teachers come to the warehouse, they will find that it is divided into rooms that focus on particular areas of the curriculum. In the Science Room is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) corner where teachers can pick up – or create – STEM kits that have supplies students might use in STEM projects.
A kit might include such items as straws, popsicle sticks, toothpicks, pipe cleaners, Q-tips, cotton balls, and Play-Doh. Teachers will be able to put items they want in a container and points will be charged for the container rather for the individual items.
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.
Each quarter, teachers are assigned 25 points to spend. Those who bring their own shopping bags receive an extra 2 points. Teachers can also earn extra points by volunteering at the warehouse.
Depending on what teachers choose, they may be able to “buy” hundreds of dollars worth of materials during the course of the school year.
The warehouse is supported by volunteers. Some are retired educators, regularly volunteer at the warehouse. During regular school years, volunteers have included high school students participating in the Crosby Scholars program who earn service hours by volunteering at the warehouse.
The warehouse receives substantial support from individuals, businesses and members of the community.
Some of the supplies at the warehouse come from teachers. Some come from retiring teachers. Others are useful materials that active teachers no longer need. Each year, the warehouse sends out boxes to schools to be filled with supplies that teachers no longer need.
“A huge ‘thank you’ to all of our teachers who have donated their gently used supplies and to our retired teachers,” Chandler said.
Businesses regularly donate to the warehouse.
The Publix store on Miller Street has held a supply drive every year since the store opened in 2016. After it opened, the Publix store in Clemmons began participating.
When customers are checking out, they can add the donation the want to make to their bills. Later, Publix will bring school supplies to the warehouse worth the total donated.
Members of many other businesses and organizations also support the warehouse.
Such businesses as Inmar have school supply drives, and Forsyth Woman/Forsyth Family magazines has invited people to bring supplies to events sponsored by the magazines.
JOANN Fabric and Crafts donates items it is no longer selling.
The warehouse also supports other organizations by donating books that teachers don’t take during the course of a school year.
The warehouse is incorporated as a nonprofit organization, and checks can be made out to Educator Warehouse and sent to Educator Warehouse, P.O. Box 141, Winston-Salem, NC 27102.
At one time, only full-time teachers in public schools in Forsyth County were eligible to use the warehouse. Teachers from five public charter schools in Forsyth County are now also eligible to shop at the warehouse.
Before shopping, teachers are asked to register online and to make an appointment at least one day in advance. To register, go to Educator Warehouse.
Teachers can also order online and pick up their order at the warehouse within two weeks. Teachers who don’t spend all 25 points online have the option of making an appointment and spending the rest of their points when they pick up the order.
The businesses and organizations supporting the Educator Warehouse through donations of money and/or items include:
Forsyth Woman/Forsyth Family magazines
Forsyth County chapter of Professional Women in Building
JOANN Fabric and Crafts
Carson-Delossa Publishing Group
Winston-Salem Open tennis tournament
The Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston-Salem