Although we’re still in a vacation mindset, back-to-school time is upon us again, and as a former teacher, I can tell you that the classroom is never far from a teacher’s thoughts.

As the annual scramble to prepare for a new year kicks off, one of the first challenges is ensuring that our students and families have access to all the supply lists of required—and desired—classroom necessities. Thankfully, that challenge has never been easier.

Specifically, School Family Media is proud to launch a new communication tool for parents and teachers, TeacherLists.com.

The interactive website is unique in that it helps parents and teachers to connect on essential classroom supplies any time during the school year. The site is easy for parents to access online or on their mobile devices as they’re in the midst of back-to-school shopping, and allows teachers to upload their classroom’s supply lists, as well as their wish lists of additional supplies that will help their classrooms thrive. The key benefits are:

  • School supply lists, wish lists and any requests for school specialty items are all in one place – easily accessible and updatable 24/7.
  • Lists are archived on TeacherLists.com permanently and can be accessed and updated anytime from anywhere, making them instantly available.
  • Sharing lists is simple and immediate because they can be shared via Facebook, Twitter, email or even through links posted to the school’s website. A print option—for those who have to have or share a hard copy—is even offered at the press of a button.
  • Parents will always know where to find lists and exactly what to buy, so teachers won’t have to spend time fielding unnecessary emails and questions.
  • Parents can follow lists to be automatically notified anytime lists are updated.

Not only is the site helping connect parents and teachers, but it’s also  helping alleviate teachers’ out-of-pocket spending as parents help fulfill their kids’ teachers’ wish lists by purchasing items off the lists and making product donations to their kids’ classrooms. Shockingly, teachers spend nearly $500 a year each out of pocket on classroom supplies, often on basic necessities like cleaning supplies (paper towels) and personal items (facial tissues). These items typically show up on teachers’ basic supply and wish lists, so among other benefits, the new site will also help to put money back in teachers’ pockets.

Thanks to the streamlined communication the site provides, parents will now be able to make the most of back-to-school shopping trips. For instance, parents will be able to buy school supplies and pick up a wish list item or two as they access both lists, either at home or at the store, and that extra wish list item they grab will end up having a huge cumulative impact on teachers’ pocketbooks as more and more parents contribute. According to a recent parent survey we conducted this summer, the vast majority of parents polled confirmed they’ll happily donate wish list items and more to their kids’ classrooms so that teachers will be able to spend less time worrying about classroom supplies and more time inspiring students.

Above and beyond putting teachers and parents in touch, we’re also proud to help assist teachers with support from our key sponsors including Bounty® Paper Towels and Puffs® Facial Tissues, brands trusted at home and trusted by teachers for classrooms. They, along with additional support from Mr. Clean®  (white board and dirt erasers are another popular type of product on teachers’ lists so we’re delighted to have Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser select-a-size  on board) allow us to provide essential tools to participating teachers and schools. Keeping in mind that a clean classroom has always been—and will continue to be—a top concern for teachers, our partners are crucial to creating  more productive and more hands-on classrooms because a well-stocked classroom can help children and teachers bring their best to school every single day.

All in all, combining both school supply lists and teacher wish lists into one comprehensive site allows both parents and teachers to save time and connect more easily, ultimately benefiting every classroom and every student. I hope that you visit TeacherLists.com to find teachers in your community so that you may lend a helping hand, and ask that you encourage any and every educator you know to register their lists on the site.

Tim Sullivan – President

A recognized leader in all aspects of parent involvement in schools, Tim has spent his entire career in the education world. Tim’s unique perspective on the education world comes from a variety of angles – first as a teacher and administrator at a NYC high school, then as a senior manager for a New England-based fundraising concern; and now as the founder and leader of School Family Media (SFM).  SFM is the parent company of PTO Today magazine, SchoolFamily.com and the recently launched TeacherLists.com.

He has spoken at hundreds of parent group (PTO and PTA) meetings and to tens of thousands of parent group leaders all across the country. In print, on the radio and on national TV, Tim is a frequent contributor to national discussions on the importance of parent involvement in schools and the best practices for encouraging and enabling that involvement. He also maintains a role as a senior writer for PTO Today Magazine and as a featured blogger on both ptotoday.com and SchoolFamily.com.

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Tim lives in Attleboro, Massachusetts with his wife Ellen and their four young children. Tim also served as the HSA (Home & School Association) president at his children’s school.