Did you know on average Metro teachers spend $410 out of pocket to supplement their classroom supplies?

The DG PENCIL Box, PENCIL’s free teacher resource center, was established to help alleviate that pressure for Metro Nashville Public School (MNPS) teachers. MNPS educators are invited to shop for classroom supplies once a quarter at no cost to them. The store is filled with supplies ranging from notebooks and pencils to hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.

During the first shopping trip of 2022, we interviewed several Metro teachers to see what they had to say about their shopping experiences.

“I love it here. Some teachers like to go to Target or Walmart, but me, I’d rather come here. Honestly, it is so fun to shop at the Box – it has everything I need and more – and I don’t have to spend my own money,” said Jennifer Abel, the PENCIL Box ambassador from Shwab Elementary School.

Geanice Noel, a 7th grade Social Studies teacher at Head Middle Magnet School, joined in and shared her impressions of the DG PENCIL Box.

“I was really impressed. The store is very, very organized, and they have things that we actually need and can use. There were cleaning supplies, which I always need. Plus supplies that students keep asking for like binders, mechanical pencils, scissors, and backpacks – things that the kids can really benefit from that allow us to keep them focused on learning.”

Ms. Noel was not the only teacher impressed by the supply selection. Suzanne Diaz, a 9th grade teacher at Glencliff High School highlighted a few of her most meaningful finds.

“The item I am most excited about is a backpack that I picked out for an incoming student. She is coming from Honduras, and I am grateful to welcome her to our school with a backpack full of the supplies she needs to get started,” explained Ms. Diaz. “I also really enjoy the miscellaneous section at the PENCIL Box because I never know what I might get – I’ve gotten some frisbees, a favorite outdoor game, and marbles, which I can use for fun learning activities.”

While shopping, Natalie Millican, an 8th Grade Math Teacher at LEAD Cameron Middle School, expressed her gratitude to the volunteers and donors who support the efforts of the DG PENCIL Box.

“The volunteers and donors don’t understand how big of an impact that they’re making. Every child is going to be able to focus better in class because they have their own supplies – a notebook, an eraser cap, a pencil,” shares Ms. Millican. “And it takes the financial burden off of me, so I can focus on the other needs of my students and teaching.”

Volunteers and donors are vital to the success of the DG PENCIL Box. Donations from national brands, the Nashville community, and our PENCIL Partners, keep the stores stocked with classroom essentials, while volunteers work countless hours to sort, bundle, organize, stock, and distribute the supplies to Metro teachers. If you are interested in supporting these efforts, you can host a supply drive, donate supplies, sponsor a high-need item, or volunteer to staff the store. Learn more: https://pencilforschools.org/free-teacher-supply-store/

Metro teachers interested in “shopping” at the DG PENCIL Box, can make an appointment here: https://pencilforschools.org/teacher-shopping-appointments/