Back to School Supplies

As a parent with young kids, I always look forward to the start of the school year. It is good to get back into a routine and for my kids to participate in their school community. However, the cost of getting back to school can be very stressful for many families. The supplies that students are required to bring for the first day of classes can easily cost a family over $50 for each child attending school. There are often other costs too – shoes, clothes, haircuts, activities fees…

Most of the families who live in the communities NRC serves struggle to make ends meet. The additional expenses involved in sending kids to school can mean difficult choices. Some families simply cannot take on these extra expenses.

Our partner schools in isolated reservation communities tell us this leads to:

  • Some children not being enrolled in school
  • Some children not being enrolled until the school year is underway, as it will be less obvious they did not bring the needed supplies
  • Some children acting out because they are uncomfortable coming to school without the supplies they need
  • Some parents pulling their children out of one school and registering them in another that is offering supplies
  • Some students leaving school when they run out of supplies because they are embarrassed they cannot replace them
  • Teachers buying supplies out of their own household budgets to help as much as they can

In an effort to help each child start the school year on an equal footing, NRC partners with reservation schools. Each spring we identify partner schools and help them plan and conduct back-to-school events in order to encourage timely school registration and increase family involvement in their children’s educational experience.

This year NRC will provide back to school supplies, clothing, and shoes for every child in more than 180 reservation schools. This may seem very straightforward, but these distributions can have a significant positive impact for children, parents and school officials. In my next post, I will share some notes from people who have experienced the impact of our school supplies.

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