NexTier Bank to offer teachers money for school supplies
Teachers preparing to shell out for classroom supplies this fall could get some help from a local bank.
Kittaning-based NexTier Bank, N.A., will award three teachers who participate in their second annual Sponsor a Teacher essay contest up to $500 in gift cards to help buy classroom supplies for the upcoming school year. Submissions will be accepted until August 10, and winners will be announced soon after.
Digital Marketing and Innovation Director Christina Gavula said that she was inspired to start the competition last year after hearing about family and neighbors, who teach in Pittsburgh-area schools, who used their own money year after year to buy classroom supplies and decorations.
Gavula said that she wanted to help teachers like them create clean, fun and homey classroom environments that can be students’ safe places away from home.
About 94 percent of traditional public school teachers spend their own money on school supplies, according to a study published by the U.S. Department of Education in May 2018. About 88 percent of charter school teachers do the same.
On average, they’re spending about $479 per year without reimbursement, the study showed.
A look at sites like DonorsChoose.org or AdoptAClassroom.org, where teachers post fundraisers for classroom supplies ranging from calculators to Spanish-language books to tubas, helps to illustrate the needs of some local teachers.
There are 84 fundraisers set up by teachers at Pittsburgh Public Schools on the site.
Many of these fundraisers top several hundred, if not thousands, of dollars.
The NexTier competition is open to the public—anyone can nominate a teacher working anywhere in Southwest Pennsylvania for an award—and entrants are asked to submit a 500-word response to the question: “If an alien from outer space came to visit your school, how would you describe what a teacher is and how they impact the lives of their students?”
Submissions can be sent to www.nextierbank.com. Paper submissions will be accepted at any NexTier branch. Teachers will receive a classroom set of folders, notebooks and pencils just for entering the contest.
The 28 NextTier branches across Armstrong, Allegheny, Butler and Westmoreland Counties will also be collecting school supply donations starting August 1. Donations will be shared with teachers and parents in local schools.
Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-850-2867, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.