Monday, September 21, 2009

Rio Employees Collect Tools For Teachers


By David Staudacher, Rio Salado PR Manager, 480.517.8472

Throughout the school year, teachers often spend hundreds of dollars of their own money on classroom supplies for themselves and their students. For first-year teachers, who don't have years of materials saved, that figure can easily eclipse $1,000.


To help ease the financial burden of outfitting classrooms for first-year teachers in Rio Salado College’s Post-Baccalaureate Teacher-in-Residence program, the employees at the Tempe-based college held the Tools for Teachers school supply drive.


During the drive, employees spent several weeks collecting school supplies and volunteering during their lunch time to fill 100 reusable bags made of recycled materials for the teachers.

“This has been an especially tough year for teachers,” said Dannan Glasper, administrative assistant at Rio Salado College. “Many of the teachers in Rio’s Teacher-in-Residence program are starting their careers at Title I schools and are working with very limited budgets for supplies.”


According to the Arizona Department of Education, Title I, which is part of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), provides financial assistance to local educational agencies to meet the needs of disadvantaged school children. Title I was developed to help students reach the state's academic standards.


“Rio Salado employees and the teachers live and work throughout the Valley,” said Glasper while adding a box of crayons to a bag. “Essentially, the employees are helping teachers and students in their own backyard.”


The Tools for Teachers supply drive is just part of the college's volunteer efforts. Recently, school officials started working on a college-wide campaign called Pay 30 Forward. The campaign, which started in July, encourages employees to get involved in their communities by volunteering, participating in charity events, and helping other causes.


"Rio Salado recently celebrated its 30th anniversary," said Glasper. "So we asked employees to give back by volunteering at least 30 hours in the community, which has been very supportive of Rio over the years."


While the 30-hour mark is linked to the 30th anniversary, it also was established after officials discovered that a large contingent of employees were already heavily involved in volunteering.


“While talking to employees we found out that some really dedicated people are volunteering more than 30 hours a month,” said Glasper. “So we came up with the 30-hour mark to make it challenging for the employees. The campaign started in July and we are asking them to volunteer 30 hours by next July. That gives them a year, which is challenging, but very reasonable.”


Since Pay 30 Forward is not mandatory, a committee made up of Rio Salado employees is planning several volunteer events to help people get involved.
To learn more about Rio Salado College’s outreach effort and how you can get involved, visit http://www.riosalado.edu/community/services/Outreach.
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