Family Engagement K-12 Enrollment

Make a Big Difference During Back-to-School Sale Season

This guest post is from an AMAZING SFUSD public school mom. Thanks Shellie Wiener for this great advice!


Back-to-School Sale season is upon us!

Now is a great time to not only get your own great deals, but to make a big impact for your school!

We all know Back-to-School Sale season is a great time to get extra supplies at great discounts. But did you know it’s also a time families can help out our schools? While you’re out shopping to get supplies, why not consider getting resources that will make a big difference for teachers this fall?

Small purchases by parents can mean BIG savings for schools.
Small purchases by parents can mean BIG savings for schools.

Schools spend A LOT on supplies. Classes use A LOT of supplies. Secretaries purchase through the Warehouse Catalogs, [which contract for high volume discount prices for the district as a whole,] as well as preferred commercial suppliers to obtain the needed items at the best prices possible in order to s-t-r-e-t-c-h their budgets. BUT nothing beats the ‘loss-leaders’ that retailers will use to lure us into their stores over the next few weeks.

I am not talking today about clothes, uniforms, lunch boxes or backpacks. I am talking about classroom supplies sold at office supplies stores, chain drug stores, and discount retailers. These supplies help teachers to reinforce concepts through hands-on activities (not to mention encouraging student creativity through the arts.) If you have a little cash to spare and some time to go shopping, you can help out more than you can imagine. By the time that your classroom teacher sends a request list home or gives it out at back-to-school night in September, ALL the sales will have come and gone. You can do so much more with less $$ now.

Be on the lookout for sales in your local newspapers (SFUSD parents, try the Sunday Chronicle!) You can also check for sales on-line at stores like Amazon, Target, Staples, Office Depot, Walgreens, and CVS.

What to look out for?

Here are some basic school supplies that all classroom teachers need:

  • White Glue and Glue Sticks
  • Composition Books
  • Lined binder paper
  • Pocket Folders for Homework or Wednesday News
  • Pencils [beat $.72/dozen]
  • Colored Pencils [beat $2.35/24 assorted]
  • Colored Copier Paper
  • Rubber Bands
  • Wooden Rulers
  • For the older grades – Graph Paper, Compasses, Protractors, Erasers

And don’t forget…

  • Sanitizing wipes (to clean desks)
  • Facial tissue (Kleenex, Puffs, etc.)
  • Paper towels
  • Hand sanitizer

A simple way to make a BIG difference!

While you are shopping in stores and online, the simple act of adding a few items to your list can add up to make a BIG difference.

Here’s an example:

Based on current prices, SFUSD schools can purchase a 4 oz. bottle of white glue [Elmer’s or otherwise] for $.90 in the Warehouse catalog. That means if your secretary needs to order 1 bottle for every child in a 500 student school, your site is spending almost $500 in glue, not to mention the reorder in January. Gallon jugs of glue are not much cheaper. So, if you see glue selling for $.25 – grab it!

Instead of glue, a school then would be able to purchase ribbons for field day, or math manipulatives, or laminator film, or science supplies, or new pads for the Ellison die-cutter, or art supplies like watercolors/pastels/charcoal or special paper [tissue paper, crepe paper, art paper].

It is important parents know about these opportunities so that school communities across the district are aware of small ways in which they can make a big difference and free up school funds for big-ticket or specialty items.

Parents and educators… did I miss anything? What additional resources can families buy during Back-to-School Sale mania to help support our schools?

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