Friday, March 1, 2024

School supplies initiative lightens back-to-school financial load

  • August 9 2023
  • By Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

GUYSBOROUGH – Back-to-school supplies have been on for sale at big box stores for weeks. For those whose children go to school in Guysborough, the price tag for the new year will be a little lighter than expected due to a new initiative at Chedabucto Education Centre/Guysborough Academy (CEC/GA).

In late July, a notice appeared on the CEC/GA twitter feed stating, “CEC/GA is pleased to offer free school supplies to our students this year. Students are only required to bring their own backpack, lunch box, headphones/earbuds, indoor sneakers for physical education class, water bottle and a binder, if they would like one.”

Principal Barbara Avery told The Journal via email, “Providing basic school supplies for our families came about from discussions with staff. Post-COVID has been difficult for many of our families with the rise in cost of groceries and other necessities, so we had some discussions around how can we further support our families.”

Avery noted several other programs at the school that help alleviate the financial stress on school families. She wrote, “The SRCE [Strait Regional Centre for Education] universal milk program and our school’s ‘free store’ has been very well received and highly utilized along with our enhanced daily universal breakfast program.”

Avery concluded, “School start-up in September can place financial pressure on our families with back-to-school shopping for school supplies, indoor sneakers, backpacks and school photos usually within the month, so we felt by supplying the basic school supplies for our students this would lessen the financial strain back to school shopping can have on our families. Also, teachers will know what school supplies all their students have access to and can plan their lessons accordingly.”

The notice regarding the initiative was also sent home with students at the end of the school year in June and is posted on the CEC/GA website, said Avery.

The Journal asked the SRCE if other schools within their jurisdiction were implementing a similar school supply program and how the program would be funded.

SRCE Coordinator of Communications Deanna Gillis replied via email, “Over the last several years, in particular, with an inclusion and equity approach in mind, schools were asked to consider how they could help support their families with the purchase of some school supplies. There are other schools offering this support, which is provided through funding from school budgets…Schools and the SRCE are continually looking for ways to support families and the school supply support is an additional way to offer assistance.”

The free school supply initiative will also be adopted at Fanning Education Centre/Canso Academy in Hazel Hill this school year.