Courtesy Pfaff, Flickr CC

     Today I got a request from a fellow teacher who had gone through Project Lead the Way training with me this summer.  We are both teaching Introduction to Engineering Design (IED)and Digital Electronics (DE).  We are at schools that are about 20 miles apart but differ in so very many ways.
     Seems he needs some  basic items required in the first 2  to 3 weeks of DE.  And, as far as costs of things for this course, the items he needs are relatively inexpensive.  But his school district shifts fiscal years during the middle of the summer and doesn’t address new purchases until after the shift.  So, his order went in about 2 weeks ago.  With a 6 to 8 week return from the supplier that means that supplies he needs now won’t be to campus until the 2nd 6-weeks grading period.
     Now this is not a show stopper for my friend.  He’s a “professional” and can handle the proverbial curve ball so often thrown at us as teachers.  But still, that school knew he was going to be teaching this course when they sent him to training (with last year’s fiscal dollars).  Couldn’t someone have thought – “I wonder what equipment he will need for this course?”   Followed by, “We should get some of that equipment now because he’ll need to get started in August.”  Except that’s not a school administrator’s forte.  Once the Summer starts there’s hiring of new teachers, overseeing of building maintenance, personal vacation, and training/conferences to attend. 
    I feel fortunate in my situation.  As far as I can tell, an early August inventory of equipment revealed that I had just about any and everything required for both of my classes.    And, I have not heard an inordinate amount of complaining from the rest of the staff about not having all of their supplies. 
   This isn’t the first time I have heard complaining (or been the one complaining) about having the supplies I need at the beginning of the school year.  Seems that whether I was in Virginia, Rhode Island, Florida, Texas, or with DoDDS overseas, there were times when the administration seemed surprised that school was starting. 
    I guess I was spoiled by incredible Supply Officers in the Navy.   The best of these would always anticipate expenditures and budget changes that might impact our operations.  Seems to me we should require our assistant supes for budget and finance to attend Naval Suppy Officer training so they would do a better job of ensuring our operations aren’t impacted by the current fiscal situation.  After all the daily operations we teachers are conducting in our classrooms directly effects our overall mission of student readiness.

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