PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Teachers at Crosby Elementary School were getting their classes through the MCAS tests on Tuesday. They still have lessons to teach. And then there was knock on each one of their doors.
It was either Gary Levante or Deanna Markham from Berkshire Bank or it was Jennifer Kerwood from the Berkshire United Way. The teachers didn't know it was coming, but the two organizations were thinking about them because Tuesday wasn't just another school day.
It was National Teacher Appreciation Day.
For each elementary school teacher at Crosby, one of those three handed over a box filled with games, reward stickers, pocket folders, hand sanitizer, tissues, and books. They were items that teachers typically pay for out of their own pockets.
"We often overlook the teachers and they put in so much of their own money that we thought this is a nice way to help kids and the teachers," Kerwood said.
The two organizations sent representatives to three Title 1 schools: Crosby, Conte, and Morningside. It is a new idea the two organizations, which work together on a number of projects, thought up.
"We got a list from the School Department of items that the teachers need the most that they most often have to buy on their own," Kerwood said.
The groups received donations from other local businesses or purchased the items themselves and Tuesday morning about a dozen Berkshire Bank employees spent an hour sorting and labeling the boxes for the children. The United Way estimates that teachers spend $500 annually on their own classroom supplies.
And after surprising each teacher with a gift box, the representatives gave a few teachers a little extra breather by reading to the children. At Crosby, Kerwood, Markham, and Levante all split up into different first-grade classrooms to ready to them.
"At the end of the day, that's who's educating the next generation of leaders," Levante said of the effort. "I think it is a great opportunity and great partnership."
The three really didn't know what to expect. Maybe in the future, they'd do more, maybe not. It really depended on the reaction.
The teachers were certainly happy. In some classrooms, the students erupted into applause. The teachers profusely thanked them for the gift, appreciating the extra thought the organizations put toward what they do each and every day.
"It is definitely a rewarding experience to say thank you to the educators and the teachers and see the kids," Levante said.
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