The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ironwood PTO helps teachers with classroom costs


August 30, 2019


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Ironwood — When Ironwood teachers returned to their classrooms Tuesday they had some help from the district’s Parent Teacher Organization with the cost of classroom supplies.

The PTO made $75 available for classroom supplies, PTO president Clancey Byrne said, for any interested teachers to use as they saw fit.

“They say the average teacher spends about $200 of their own money for school supplies,” Byrne told the Daily Globe. “Seventy five dollars doesn’t cover it, but it makes a dent.”

Byrne said the PTO had decided at the beginning of last year that it didn’t want to sit on a large fund balance over the summer and based the decision to give the teachers the money on feedback they got from some of the staff.

Ironwood Superintendent Travis Powell said the money showed the PTO’s commitment to helping the district’s students succeed while also recognizing the teachers for their efforts.

“With budgets being as tight as they are in education these days, this kind of ‘no strings attached’ endorsement of our teaching staff is much appreciated and totally warranted,” Powell said. “We have excellent teachers at Ironwood Area Schools and the PTO has found a simple yet effective way to acknowledge this excellence while also showing our gratitude for their hard work.”

Some teachers have used the money to decorate their classrooms or on schools supplies, while others plan to use the money later in the year.

Sixth grade teacher Jason Hofstede said he intends to use the money during some upcoming field trips.

“(I plant to buy materials) for field trips that the kids can take home with them that we will probably fill out and use on the field trip,” Hofstede said. “They can then take (the materials) home with them to refresh their memories and remind them of what we did.”

He said he appreciated that each teacher taking advantage of the donation can decide how best to spend it.

“I think it’s just nice for the teacher to be able to decide where to put the resources,” Hofstede said.

With the period to ask for the funds has closed, Byrne said almost everyone they thought would take advantage of the program has.

He noted some of the higher grades didn’t participate as much, but said that was probably because they don’t need as many school supplies as some of the elementary grades.

He said the PTO hopes to donate additional funds next year.

“We want to keep doing it,” Byrne said. “(The money) is not going to do any good if it’s just sitting there.”


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