Friday, October 12, 2012

A message for Parents, Board Members, Administrators and Teachers of Erie County from Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart

I am writing to share with you reflections from serving as “WNY School Projects Center” for almost thirty years.

Each year, parents (and school districts) are seeking ways to save money; for parents, everything associated with educating their child continues to increase in cost and for school districts, there is a requirement to impact more with ever-restrained resources.

When parents visit us fall, winter, spring and summer to obtain materials for school projects, they are often stunned as to prices and price increases from year-to-year.  Many of the products have a petroleum base at some point in the production process, and/or wood, and/or metal…. and petroleum, wood, and metal, as commodities, have only increased.

The items that most parents/students purchase for projects include: Metal sheets, tubes, rods; Wood sheets, blocks, dowels; Paints; Clay; Adhesives; Brushes; Scenery Supplies (landscaping, structures, figures), Tools (knives, saws, carving); Sketch books, drawing paper; Mat/Foam boards; Drafting supplies; Writing Implements (pencils, markers).

During the last five years, the most frequent projects seem to be Long House, Log Cabin, Pyramid, Tee-Pee, Military Scene, Indian Scene, and Volcano amongst others.

Two suggestions.  First, consider scheduling lesson plans so materials from one project may be re-used for another project.  Wood from a Long House could be used for a Log Cabin, Tee-Pee or Pyramid; the key is to schedule the projects so that there is a progression of material-flow- wood to wood, metal to metal, etc.  If the parents have a list at the beginning of a semester, then they can purchase all of the required items at one time, negating the need for multiple trips- and the use of time and fuel and, probably, finding that prices have increased once again.  Second, there have been occasions when parents share that there are too few days for which to complete a project assignment.  With many parents (or single parents with visitation challenges) having two jobs, volunteer commitments, transportation challengers, family obligation/emergency, a project assigned on Friday and due on Monday is not as generous in time as a weekend may imply.  Permitting at least one week from assignment to completion would be beneficial and result in projects that will more soundly reflect the efforts of the student, rather than the time-forced efforts of the parent(s).

Thanking you in advance for your consideration of these reflections and suggestions

[Downloadable PDF]