Teacher Needs: Resupply, the Fourth “R” of Education

We all know the three “Rs” of school – ‘readin’, ‘ritin’ and ‘rithmetic. Now, with an increasing need for teacher needs to be restocked in the middle of the school year, we can add “resupply.” For teachers, we've created a downloadable letter below for you to print and send home with parents!

The need for a mid-year resupply is the result of states not budgeting enough for classroom needs. Year in and year out, teachers spend their own hard-earned money to buy supplies for classrooms. And it's not a small percentage - according to a report by the Federal Department of Education, no fewer than 94% of teachers spend their own money on classroom needs.

Some of the more common needs are pencils, paper, and notebooks. However, in recent years, some teacher needs lists include school art supplies, science classroom supplies, and other supplies every teacher needs.

Since some supplies don’t last the full school year, teachers and administrators have to scramble to restock. One of the ways to help resupply the classrooms is by donating supplies. This can be done several ways.

One way is the direct purchase. Teachers can provide a “most wanted” list of their needs and wait for the supplies to be purchased through such school supply outlets and donated to the school or their specific classrooms.

A more collaborative way is school supply drives. Sometimes, teachers need specific items, like hand sanitizer or crayons. Collection drives can be organized for these items. There can be a “let’s clean up with hand sanitizer” drive or a “help us color our world” drive for the crayons and markers.

Bruce Hogue, a science teacher in Denver, Colorado with over 30 years of experience, says, "It’s the little stuff that falls through the cracks that we usually have to pick up.” These little things include tissues, antibacterial wipes, glue sticks, crayons, and more.

Here is an example of one teacher’s Most Wanted Resupply Dirty Dozen:


1. Tissues.

Just imagine the number of tissues classrooms go through, particularly during cold/flu and allergy seasons.

Hand Sanitizer

2. Hand Sanitizer.

You can’t be too sure about where the kids’ hands have been – particularly during cold/flu seasons.


3. Pencils.

Yep. Some teachers still use pencils and, of course, good ol’ No. 2 lead.

Post-it Notes

4. Post-it or sticky notes.

These have become the most valuable player of classroom stationary products. They are used for everything ranging from reminders for teachers to notes sent home for parents.

Dry-erase markers

5. Dry erase markers/erasers.

Just imagine the number of tissues classrooms go through, particularly during cold/flu and allergy seasons.

Glue Sticks

6. Glue sticks/paste/etc.

These have been staples since schools were invented and usually run dry or run out around January or February.

Construction Paper

7. Paper.

Teachers’ paper needs include lined, graph and the ever-popular construction paper.


8. Notebooks. 

These can be loose-leaf binders or composition books.


9. Markers/crayons.

In some elementary schools, the classroom teachers also teach art so they will need markers and crayons particularly for the K-2 grades – and these run out quickly.


10. Wipes

Teachers need these to clean off desks and get glue and paste off tiny hands and fingers.


11. Tissues.

We can’t stress these enough!


12. Staplers/staples.

It’s amazing how many times staplers walk off or, if they haven’t strayed from the desk, how they are empty right when a teacher needs to staple several things in a hurry.

Now we have the list and it’s time to get the resupply drive organized. A good starting point is the PTA/PTO. Chances are they have the infrastructure in place for fundraising. If there isn’t a PTA/PTO or if you just want to collect supplies for an organization such as Free 2 Teach, here are a few tips on getting started.

Plan your drive to last about two weeks - maximum. Families are going to be on tight budgets at this time of year so we can’t expect them to come up with a lot of extra money.

Just like in real estate, the key to collection is location, location, location. Find appropriate collection bins, barrels, or boxes and place them in high-traffic and accessible areas, preferably the lobby at the front of the school or in classrooms. This way, when the kids bring in the supplies, they drop them off first thing. Also, for visitors, it’s easy to find when the bins/barrels/boxes are right at the front.


Supply Drive

Photo Credit: United Way of Eastern New Mexico


Before the drive, make sure you raise awareness. Send out email blasts; post on Facebook; tweet; text; make calls. Use snail mail (though for some this may be cost prohibitive); pass out flyers to parents in the car line; send out newsletters and have announcements ready for PTA/PTO meetings. Remember, this is an “all hands on deck” effort to help collect what the teacher needs.

Once the resupply drive is underway, make sure everyone is informed and updated on its progress. Keep a countdown running with how many days remain somewhere visible.

There could also be competitions to build excitement in the drive, races with prizes like the first class to meet its goal gets a pizza day, or no homework for the rest of the semester if everyone brings in a certain number of items.

So the items are nailed down, the drive is planned, and the teachers are ready. Now the big question – where do you get cost-effective bulk school supplies in the middle of the school year? We’ve got you covered. Check out our school supply options at Blue Summit Supplies and help your teachers get what they need.


Free Downloadable Teacher Resupply Parent Request Letter Template

If you're a teacher and aren't sure how to ask for help when it comes to classroom supplies, our free downloadable teacher resupply needs letter can do the trick. Pop your email in the form below for access to an editable Word document and/or PDF template!


Teacher resupply request letter for parents

Click here to download our free teacher resupply request letter!


To learn more about school and other office supplies, check out our blog at Blue Summit Supplies. If you have any questions, send Larry a message!



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Bud McLaughlin is a career journalist whose career spans some 40 years, including editing major publications all across the eastern seaboard and serving as sports information director at Alabama A&M University. A native of New Jersey, Bud graduated from Auburn University and also attended the University of Alabama in Huntsville where he played ice hockey. He resides in south Huntsville with his wife, where they own Securus Properties, a real estate investing company. As advocates for affordable housing, they are active with Habitat for Humanity of Madison County. Bud is the father of three sons and grandfather of six.

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