Tuesday, May 28, 2024

School supplies initiative deemed huge success

  • October 4 2023
  • By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

GUYSBOROUGH — A first-time school supplies giveaway has been so well-received this year that the principal of Chedabucto Education Centre/Guysborough Academy (CEC/GA) plans to repeat the program next year, and the year after that.

“We got very positive feedback from parents,” Barbara Avery told The Journal. “It was our first, but [we expect] to continue it for all [students from] Primary to Grade 12.”

Although precise numbers are not available, she said the savings to parents on such items as pencils, crayons and scribblers this year may have run into the thousands. “We have 267 students here. I would say that [the cost] would [normally] be around $100 per student.”

The initiative originated last year with discussions among school staff who, she noted, “wanted to start off with real positive news...The beginning of school can place a lot of financial pressure on families. With the rising cost of everything, in our area there is more need. Plus, it’s not easy [for some people] to reach out.”

In a July memo to parents, CEC/GA stated: “We are pleased to offer free school supplies to our students this year. Students are only required to bring their own backpack, lunch box, headphones/ear- buds, indoor sneakers for physical education class, water bottle and a binder, if they would like one.”

Avery said the program has benefitted from extensive input from teachers, “who shared what they felt students would need in their classes. This also made it easier for them to respond, as they knew what supplies their students had, and they could plan their lessons accordingly.”

Although the school’s budget covered most of the initiative’s cost, she added, “We’re also very appreciative of the financial help we received from individual [MODG] councillors who, when they heard about it, really wanted to support it.”

In August, Strait Regional Centre for Education (SRCE) Coordinator of Communications Deanna Gillis told The Journal, “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 [including Fanning Education Centre/Canso Academy in Hazel Hill]. Schools and the SRCE are continually looking for ways to support families and the school supply support is an additional way to offer assistance.”

Said Avery: “I’m from the area, and so is the vice-principal, and so are a lot of the teachers. We know our community. We try to keep the lines of communication open and support people in any way we can.”