Most teachers accept whatever help they can. Ross Elementary first grade teacher Kristin Showalter is about to get some serious help.

Weigand-Omega Management and Omega Senior Living are doing their 2nd Annual Teacher’s Dream List Drive through the company’s My Neighbor’s Keeper initiative.

"Each year each property does four My Neighbor’s Keeper projects," said Erin Fern, manager of The Reserves at Cimarron Valley Apartments of Dodge City. "Our company has properties all over — Oklahoma, Texas and more — and Ross Elementary is right across from our location.

"We contact the principal to find out who would benefit the most from our donations."

Each year teachers use their own money to buy items for their classroom, items that are above and beyond standard school supplies. According to Fern, the initiative is used to help provide these teachers with the items they really need for their class to provide a fun and interactive environment for the kids to help them reach their learning potential.

Showalter began her career at Ross Elementary 2 years ago. Over the past year she has researched the benefits of flexible seating and will be implementing this into her classroom.

"It uses bean bags, standing desks and even yoga mats," Fern said. "It allows the students to sort of ‘spread out’ and be more comfortable in a school environment."

According to Ross Elementary principal Amy Loder there are several teachers in the school who have implemented flexible seating.

"We’ve found it beneficial to several teachers and students in our school," the principal said. "We know as adults it’s easier to learn and get things done when we’re comfortable and this allows us several options for children to be comfortable and ready to learn."

Fern added because she just began her career 2 years ago there are many things she needs to buy in order to get her classroom set up to be the best learning environment it can be. School supplies such as storage tubs, storage crates, paint brushes, paint, cookie cutters, popsicle sticks, clothes pins, cookie cutters, etc. are very much needed for daily activities. Other items that are needed are books, games, fish tanks, stools, art supply organizing bins, bookshelves, bean bag chairs, backrest and floor pillows, yoga mats, wobble chairs and gift certificates.

"Walmart donated a $75 gift card and Walgreens donated a $50 card," Fern said. "I will be out asking other businesses in the area to donate as well."

Fern also said she hopes to get all of the donations and supplies by Friday so that Showalter can get her class in order before the start of school on Monday.

If you are able to donate any of the above items, or any other items that you feel could benefit the classroom, or the school as a whole, contact Fern at 620-371-6722. She is willing to pick up donated items.


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