A social media group that was created less than two weeks ago is connecting hundreds of Montgomery County Public Schools teachers with donors dedicated to filling their classrooms with supplies.
On Aug. 9, MCPS teachers Kate Stone and Jenn Wilson started the group, called “MCPS, MD: Adopt-a-teacher,” where local educators could post lists of classroom supplies they need, and community members could buy and donate items from them. By Friday morning, 10 days after its launch, the group had more than 2,200 members and hundreds of posts from local teachers.
Among the posts are those from grateful educators showing off the boxes they’ve received in the mail — from pencils and tissues to area rugs and stacks of books — and donations they’re preparing to take to their classrooms. Some posts were from people with supplies and toys that they don’t need anymore and are willing to give away.
Requests came from everyone from teachers in their first year to educators with more than 20 years of experience; from Bethesda to Clarksburg to Silver Spring to Gaithersburg.
“Our main goal was just to get teachers the extra classroom resources that they would usually buy with their own money, but somebody else would be able to donate to them,” Stone, a teacher at Rocky Hill Middle School in Clarksburg, said in an interview this week. “We didn’t even think it would be such a morale booster, so that’s a piece we’re really excited about.”
The idea was derived from a similar group for Frederick County teachers, Stone said. Since her group launched, a similar one for local private school teachers was formed Thursday evening.
“I thought being an admin would be hard, but it’s turning out that it is giving me so much joy seeing deserving people receive little random acts of kindness from people,” Stone said. “I really can’t explain the feeling — it’s joy. It’s happiness. It’s excitement, knowing that these deserving teachers are being recognized in a small way by the community.”
Stone said it’s especially heartwarming to see the outpouring of support after two “really hard years for teachers.” In March 2020, schools moved to an all-virtual format as the COVID-19 pandemic spread. School buildings did not open again for more than a year for most students.
During virtual learning, some teachers felt like “nobody cared about them” and some in the community were even “against them,” Stone said. So, now, seeing community members step in to ensure they have what they need to make the school year special is “overwhelming.”
“It’s letting us teachers know, ‘Hey, we’ve got your back, we see what you’re doing,’ ” Stone said. “It’s quite a way to wind down our summer and it really amps us up for a new year.”
Teachers’ lists include basic supplies such as pencils and crayons, but most also include items to support students’ social and emotional needs, such as coloring books or stuffed animals, Stone said.
She said she expects the group to stay open throughout the school year because teachers may need supplies later they haven’t thought of yet.
“It’s really allowed us to stock our classrooms with things that are going to make kids feel excited,” Stone said. “That’s exciting.”