NEWARK, NJ - Saint James African Methodist Episcopal Church donated $10,000 to Quitman Street School to offset expenses for teachers who spend their own money on supplies for students.
Pastor Ronald Slaughter gifted the check on behalf of the church directly to Principal Justin Avery during his visit to the school on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s unfair. Our teachers don’t receive what they’re worth,” said Pastor Slaughter. “The last thing we need them doing is using their own resources in order to have the necessary supplies in this school.”
Members of Saint James AME contributed money to make the ongoing investment in Quitman Street School a reality.
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Day this past spring, Slaughter treated teachers and staff to lunch. Each received an engraved glass apple as a token of appreciation for the work they do for youth and families every day.
The church chose to invest in Quitman Street School because of its proximity. Located only two blocks away, the choice was practical because it serves the young students in their immediate community explained Slaughter.
With three children of his own, Slaughter knows how shopping for school supplies can quickly become expensive. The church wanted to offset the burden for teachers and families who can not afford it and help meet the needs of the school as a whole.
“We have been discussing the greatest needs of the school and have been looking at the priorities,” said Avery, one of 15 new principals for the 2019-2020 school year.
Slightly wiping the sweat off the top of his forehead, he noted how the many rooms in the building desperately need air conditioners. Some rooms, including the auditorium where students gathered in the afternoon for a class meeting, are too hot and not conducive for learning.
“I’m grateful that we have this and we’ll definitely be putting it to use,” said Avery.
Newark School Boardmember Asia Norton, a member of Saint James AME Church and Newark educator, grew up with a family of educators.
Her grandmother was an educator, her mother taught at Miller Street School. She knew first hand how challenging it could be for teachers to take care of their families and purchase supplies that students would not have otherwise.
“Now, they don’t have to go that far deep into their pockets and they can have more money for their households,” said Norton. “It also lets teachers know that the community is as invested in our children as they are. They have support from the community, they are not alone.”