All kindergarteners in Buffalo Public Schools and across parts of New York State are receiving a free school supply kit. National Grid is providing the supplies for distribution through The Teacher's Desk in Buffalo. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the items were handed out to the first round of city school students Thursday.
The young students were excited to receive the Yoobi school supply packs. It's a blue, rectangle box filled with some pencils, markers, crayons, eraser and a ruler. New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia appeared in Buffalo at The Teacher's Desk to help hand out the supplies.
“We’ve got a group of students today who are wonderful examples of the scholars in the Buffalo City school district,” noted Commissioner Elia.
“First of all – good afternoon everybody. I didn’t hear the answer, is it better to be here or in class? Which one? Here?” asked John Bruckner, president, National Grid New York.
“Class,” responded a kindergartner.
Bruckner said offering supplies directly to the students will help teachers their classrooms.
“So my mon was a teacher. She’s a retired New York State teacher and I know the challenges that she had that she brought to the job with respect to the supplies and other things, especially in today’s day of budget cuts and things like that – it’s very tough,” Bruckner said.
A federal survey found that 94-percent of school teachers across the United States buy their own supplies and some find it a hardship.
That's why in Buffalo, The Teacher's Desk offers teachers a place to shop free-of-charge.
Commissioner Elia said it’s an important contribution to city school students.
“You know teachers go out and spend a lot of their own money to make sure that all of their children in their classrooms have what they need,” Elia explains.
More than 10,000 kindergarten students in the state will receive the supplies.
“They will have those distributed in four our ‘most-at-risk’ areas, Buffalo and Syracuse, Albany and in down towards New York City area,” Elia noted.
Included with the supply kits was a plush toy lion. As some the young students ponder what to call their new stuffed animal, the snuggled and hugged the toy with a smile.