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CSW collecting 'Tools for Teaching' at all campuses

March 23, 2011

Andrea Cornett is a first-grade teacher at Arredondo Elementary School in Tempe. She’s in her second year of teaching, and already has learned the economic realities of the classroom: She’ll have to spend at least $350 of her own money per year to buy pencils, erasers, notebooks and other supplies for her 20 students.

Especially dry-erase markers (8 pack, $7.34, Target). “Those are huge. We never have enough,” said Cornett.

When Cornett and school principal Hilda Carr-Gaona learned that Arredondo was on the beneficiary list for the first School Supply Drive, “Tools for Teaching,” sponsored by the ASU Commission on the Status of Women, they were thrilled.

“Oh my gosh, I thought it was a great thing,” Cornett said. “Kids practically eat these materials.”

Principal Carr-Gaona said beginning teachers usually spend $350 to $500 – and sometimes up to $1,000 to equip their classrooms, depending on the grade level. She sometimes can find $20 here or there to give teachers for supplies, “but it’s getting more difficult.”

The Commission on the Status of Women will collect school supplies at all ASU campuses, including SkySong, through April 8. Four schools were chosen to receive the supplies, said Karen Engler, coordinator of CSW. “The majority of the schools we are working with are Title 1 schools, which have large concentrations of low income students.  By definition, a school is designated as Title 1 if 40 percent or more of the students qualify for a free or a reduced-price lunch.”

Each campus will focus on one local school. Tempe’s is Arredondo, while West campus will benefit Kachina Elementary School. Polytechnic, Downtown and the SkySong campuses will support the two ASU Prep Academies.

“Every spring we engage in a community outreach project to benefit populations in need.  Some of our past drives have benefited women’s shelters and food banks” Engler said. “This year we turned our attention to local schools, which are in dire need of even the most basic supplies such as paper.  This is the first time that we have run a drive like this and we are hopeful for a good response”

Drop-off points are located throughout the campuses. A complete list is available on the CSW Website,

Suggested donation items include spiral notebooks, paper, composition books, dry erase board markers, pencils and pens, crayons, markers, glue and glue sticks ($1.99 each, Staples), tape, and more. A complete list also is available on the CSW Website.

For ASU graduate Tatum Furnari, who is in her first year of teaching kindergarten at Arredondo, the school-supply drive is welcome news.

Furnari said she spent $1,000 on supplies even before school started, and she averages about $40 a week now – even though she only has 12 students.

She has so few because “my classroom is in what used to be an office, because of the budget, Furnari explained.

But even with only 12 students, “you still have to buy every little thing.”