Stocking our classrooms with teachers’ treasures

Every teacher will tell you there’s a lot that goes into making a classroom. In fact, the average teacher spends between $500 and $1,000 each year on classroom supplies, oftentimes out of their own pockets.

That’s why for the last decade, the Washington Township Schools Foundation has partnered with Teachers’ Treasures to ensure our educators have access to all the supplies they need… at no cost to them. 

Teachers’ Treasures is a volunteer-operated, membership-based store that distributes free school supplies to educators throughout Marion County. What started as a grant request to provide memberships for first-year teachers to set up their classrooms has grown into annual memberships for every teacher in the district, larger supply initiatives, and mobile shopping units bringing supplies directly to our schools.

 “At my previous school district, I had to pretty much buy everything with my own money,” said Graham Collins, World Language Department Chair at North Central High School. “When I first came to Washington Township, I learned about Teachers’ Treasures, and I thought to myself, ‘This is such a great opportunity.’” 

Each month, Washington Township teachers can visit Teachers’ Treasures and pick out whatever they need for their classroom. Things like pencils, notebooks, glue sticks and crayons are abundant—but there are also more unexpected finds.

“I’ve gotten science kits, a magnifying glass, a microscope,” said Ashlei Johnson, a 2nd grade teacher at Fox Hill Elementary. “Once, I got a whole Elephant and Piggie box set, brand new. I brag on that all the time!”

Over the years, Washington Township teachers have logged thousands of shopping trips at Teachers’ Treasures, infusing more than $1.5 million worth of supplies into classrooms all across the district. And students have felt that impact.

“I feel like the ability to go to Teacher’s Treasures for supplies has really benefited students because whenever they need something, they don’t feel self-conscious about asking for it,” said Mr. Collins. “If a student doesn’t have a notebook, doesn’t have a folder, needs a pencil, they are very comfortable saying, ‘Hey, Mr. Collins, I know you have those folders from Teacher’s Treasures. Would you mind giving me a folder?’ And so by doing that, it’s really helped the students to have exactly what they need to make sure they’re more successful in the classroom.”

“The students go really crazy when I pull out the things I’ve gotten from Teachers’ Treasures,” said Ms. Johnson, who has used her Teachers’ Treasures finds to create a reward system that keeps her students motivated and engaged. “I’ve gotten brand new games, art supplies, dinosaur sets, activity books, action figures still in the box. They get really excited about the class rewards they can earn.”

And students aren’t the only ones benefiting from this partnership.

“I get the receipt from Teachers’ Treasures each month that I go, and it tells me exactly how much I’ve saved,” said Mr. Collins. “The lowest it’s ever been is $500 in one trip, and the highest was probably around $2,000 in one trip. Had I not had the membership available to me, I would be spending literally thousands of dollars of my own money on the supplies.”

While pencils, paper and prizes may seem like small things, for teachers and students, they can make a big impact.

“Those small things add up,” said Ms. Johnson. “It just shows the heart of the district and that they care, trying to support teachers, students and families as much as they can. It’s a reflection of who we are.”

The Washington Township Schools Foundation is proud to partner with Teachers’ Treasures, and looks forward to continuing our partnership for many years to come. To learn how you can support programs like this, click here.

It just shows the heart of the district and that they care, trying to support teachers, students and families as much as they can. It’s a reflection of who we are.

Ashlei Johnson, 2nd grade teacher at Fox Hill Elementary


Looking for ways you can support Washington Township Schools? Donate today and help our foundation support programs to enhance the educational experience for our students and provide resources for MSDWT teachers and staff.