WEST ORANGE, NJ — While parents and students are rushing around to get supplies together for the coming school year, so are teachers. In the West Orange School District, teachers from across the district have created Amazon wish lists containing various items expected to enhance the learning experience for students during the upcoming school year. The district is asking the public to help “#WOClearTheList” by donating to these classrooms.
“Whether you have students in the district or not, the fact remains that classroom teachers often spend $500 or more of their own money on school supplies, and that number may be even more during the coming school year with current inflation,” interim Superintendent of Schools C. Lauren Schoen told the West Orange Chronicle. “A simple pay-it-forward campaign like clearing the teacher lists boosts teacher morale leading into the new school year, giving them strength and encouragement to wholeheartedly support and love their students, each other and themselves.”
More than 120 teachers in the district have made lists, which can be accessed at woboe.org/woclearthelist. The teachers hail from the Betty Maddalena Early Learning Center; Gregory, Hazel, Kelly, Mount Pleasant, Redwood, St. Cloud and Washington elementary schools; Edison, Liberty and Roosevelt middle school; and West Orange High School.
Hear from some West Orange teachers themselves on why donating to their classrooms matters:
“This is to help my preschool students with autism navigate their classroom environment and learn successfully,” BMELC teacher Elizabeth Rubin said.
“This year we are starting a new unit which requires a few more materials than we initially thought,” EMS science teacher Stephanie Rosario said. “If you would like to help my students this year in having the materials they need to conduct labs and maximize their learning, we would greatly appreciate any donations. Thank you so much!”
“I am working to build the safest, most inclusive and most engaging history class possible at Edison Middle School,” teacher Jacqueline Kaiser said. “I think some of these resources could really help.”
“This year will be my third year at Gregory as a special education teacher; however, it is my first year in the resource room,” teacher Keli Eason said. “Please help me #clearthelist so I can provide my students with all they need and more.”
“The fourth-graders will be so excited to have new, current titles to read. I appreciate any support you can provide,” said Hazel teacher Rosemary Martos, who asked for books as well as other supplies.
“I am a public school elementary music teacher without a classroom. Help me get the materials I need to help my students have a meaningful music education,” said teacher Nicole Payne-Venezia, who brings her “music a la carte” to Hazel, Kelly and Gregory.
“We hope to build our classroom library, add more games for students to play during downtime and make our classroom the best place for our students,” Kelly teacher Kelly Clancy said.
“Thank you for helping #clearthelist,” Liberty special education social studies teacher Chelsea Campanaro said. “I am eager to expand my classroom library and use the supplies to help my students.”
“Two middle school art classrooms and two art clubs greatly appreciate your contributions to facilitating a safe and inspiring learning environment that encourages the youth to dream big,” Liberty and Roosevelt art teacher Kristy Lopez said.
“It is always challenging to supply all students with the needed supplies year-round, so anything that is supplied will be a great help. Thank you all for supporting our class this school year. We truly appreciate all your help and support,” Redwood teacher Ashley Morris said.
“I would be very grateful for anything you can donate to my third-grade classroom. I am always looking for ways to make students feel comfortable learning. This is the reason I am adding in my classroom a calming corner,” St. Cloud teacher Michele Triano said.
“My goal as a teacher has always been to create a safe learning environment where my students can excel,” Liberty teacher Daniella Gonzalez said. “As we approach the 2022-2023 school year, please consider donating an item from this list to help support me and my students. Any donation, large or small, is greatly appreciated, and please know you are making a difference for each student that comes into my classroom. I cannot wait to meet my kiddos in September, and I am looking forward to another year!”