Everyone knows teachers don’t do it for the money. They are notoriously underpaid, but most of them still spend their own cash on supplies for their classroom. According to the non-profit school support organization Communities in Schools, 91 percent of public school teachers dip into their own bank accounts to supplement the learning environment in their classrooms.
Norland Elementary School teacher Dontricia Jones is among that majority. We watched her drive up to her school with a trunk full of supplies and a heart full of dedication.
"I do it for the love of my profession and a love for the kids," Jones said. "Sometimes they don’t have access to those resources so as a teacher I just want to make sure that I have it so they won’t have an excuse on why they don’t have it within my classroom."
Jones is Miami-Dade’s rookie teacher of the year, and this gives you an idea of why she won that award: she’s spending more than $300 of her own money to supplement the learning process for her kids, knowing many come from poverty, with parents who can’t afford all of the required basic supplies, let alone extras.
"I do reading journals, writing journals, reflection journals, that’s three different notebooks,” Jones explained.
There’s no doubt that the efforts of teachers like Jones have an impact on kids, and they effect the students in more ways than you might imagine.
"It makes such a difference, and the kids know, that’s the best part about it, that the kids know when they’re cared for, and the teachers go above and beyond, the kids know that and they work harder, they work harder for the teachers," said Dr. Christina Ravelo, principal of Norland Elementary.
Ask any public school teacher and you’ll hear about the need for donated books, pencils, backpacks, folders, flash drives, and everything else. You’ll also hear about the reactions of kids who receive them.
"They were grateful for just having something new, having something they can call their own, so they are always thankful and appreciative of anything that I give them, whether it’s paper or all the way to a new book," Jones said.
Jones knows that no matter how well she teaches, she can’t expect success in her classroom is her students don’t have the tools to succeed. You can help the effort to make sure by donating to the NBC6 Supporting Our Schools initiative. Bring supplies of all types to the Coral Square Mall, Dadeland, The Falls, or the International Mall.