The start of a new school year is an especially busy time at The Public Education Foundation’s (PEF) Teacher EXCHANGE. That is when upwards of 2,000 Clark County School District (CCSD) teachers visit the EXCHANGE to obtain classroom supplies.
Because of generous support from the Caesars Foundation, the Teacher EXCHANGE is a year-round resource center for CCSD teachers. The EXCHANGE can save teachers hundreds of dollars per year in out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies. This year, the EXCHANGE opened July 11, but the number of visitors spikes for back-to-school and also during the Winter and Spring breaks.
During the school year, the EXCHANGE is open for shopping on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. About 2,500 teachers visit the resource center in any given school year, while another 3,000 in rural areas can access items via the Teacher EXCHANGE express van, which travels to schools throughout the county. The EXCHANGE also will have an online retail operation that will begin by October and will run 24/7.
The center, which is part of the PEF location at 4350 S. Maryland Parkway in Las Vegas, operates on a points system. Licensed professionals in public schools receive 500 points for a $25 donation. Those points can be used for about $300 worth of classroom supplies.
On average, teachers spend about $500 out-of-pocket each year on classroom supplies. Many teachers spend far more than that. The Teacher EXCHANGE collects books, office supplies, manufacturing and convention overruns and other surplus materials originally headed for landfills and distributes them to teachers for use in the classroom.
Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Stavan Corbett said, “We harvest supplies from various trade shows. We have relationships with different casinos up and down the Strip. When a vendor comes in and is finished with their convention, they often leave things behind that are useful to teachers and those items are donated to the Teacher EXCHANGE.”
Teachers from Title I schools with a Free and Reduced Lunch rate of 70 percent or higher qualify for “Yoobi” supply packs, which provide an entire classroom with needed supplies. These supply packs are available through a partnership with the Kids In Need Foundation.
Corbett, who previously served on the CCSD Board of School Trustees, said the Teacher EXCHANGE helps minimize the stress a teacher may experience as they start a new school year. “They can come here and get the teaching and classroom supplies they need, thus reducing their own spending for their classrooms and students.”
For more information on the Teacher EXCHANGE, call 702-799-1042 or visit thepef.org.