The School Supplies Advisory (SSA) analyzes and studies a variety of data, information and research to develop a recommendation for a comprehensive K-5 and 6-8 school supplies policy that reduces the amount of money and time that parents spend purchasing items for school.
For a number of years, school supply lists have continued to expand in quantity and specificity. Nationally parents can expect to pay on average $196 to fill an elementary student’s backpack with the requested items; $327 for a middle school student. Recent reports in the local media (Seattle Times, KUOW) indicate a similar expectation in our state.
In the last two years we have seen a slow-down and in some cases a reversal in this trend locally. Districts have recognized that the cost of school supplies, while inconvenient and challenging for all families, is not equally distributed across their schools; the burden is felt more significantly for students in poverty. Districts have also recognized that asking families to purchase more supplies increases the burden on teachers who often “make up the difference” for those who cannot provide the necessities on the list.
Last year Northshore elementary schools significantly reduced the number of items they requested from parents, and developed a uniform list that all 20 schools published. Further work needs to be done this year to streamline the list, further reduce costs for our families, and communicate the policy and its implications to staff, parents and the community.
Meeting Schedule and Timeline
- Second Thursday of the month: October, November, December and January 2017
- Draft recommendation to PTA Council, teachers and administrators by Feb. 1
- Final Recommendation to School Board by March 14
- School supplies policy and list published on Northshore website by May 1
Background and experience that will be helpful for the SSA include, but are not limited to:
- Willingness to contribute positively to discussions and recommendations
- Global perspective on the range of needs of elementary and middle school students and their families
- Ability to absorb complex data or issues and objectively prioritize within a wide array of needs
- Effective listening skills and openness for all perspectives
- Ability to compromise and build consensus
Composition of Advisory
- 4 parent representatives
- 3 teachers
- 1 office manager
- 2 school administrators (1 elementary, 1 junior high)
- 1 district employee with budget experience
- Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education
Application Timeline for Community Membership
Applications open: Sept. 26, 2016 – Oct. 6, 2016
Selection and appointment of community members: Oct. 7, 2016