MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 22, 2010 – Twelve of Canada's outstanding teachers were recently presented with $2,000 worth of school supplies as part of Grand & Toy’s A Day Made Better program (http://grandandtoy.com). School principals and the office solutions providers’ regional employees worked together to surprise teachers in classrooms and assembly rooms with a new ergonomic chair and a box full of essential classroom supplies to last the school year.
Winning teachers were chosen in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec. Two of these recipients were from the English Montreal School Board: Catherine Legault from Royal Vale Elementary School in N.D.G. and music teacher Esther Gonzalez from St. Dorothy Elementary School in St. Michel.
“It was fantastic, it was a big surprise,” said Legault. “Now I’m teaching at Royal Vale, but last year I was at Merton and one of the parents there nominated me. I had a chance to read his very beautiful letter and he said how much I helped his son, Evan, over a two year period. He mentioned how I helped calm down and behave and how he’s a great student now.”
“It happened after recess, and I was just shocked,” added Gonzalez. “I didn’t know that Grand and Toy did this, it’s remarkable for a company to give out gifts like this. For 45 minutes, it was like Christmas, my students and I just got so many presents. “I think the greatest part were that my colleagues said that they were honored to be a part of the team that works with me, that was really special.”
Grand & Toy is one of Canada’s leading office solutions providers. Learning for a Sustainable Future is a not-for-profit, registered charitable organization that was established in 1991 to integrate sustainability education into Canada’s education system.
“The ‘A Day Made Better’ program has two goals,” says Kevin Edwards, Grand & Toy’s vice president of marketing. “First, it gives the teaching community, parents and students a chance to recognize and thank outstanding teachers who go above and beyond the call of duty. But the donation of school supplies is meant to aid teachers’ growing out-of-pocket expenses—especially for those in less affluent areas of the country.”
According to survey results released in July 2010 by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, the average Canadian teacher spent $453 in out-of-pocket expenses to fund classroom needs, such as supplies or classroom activities, in the 2008-09 school year. This was an increase from $344 five years earlier.
“More and more classrooms don’t have the supplies needed to provide quality education. Teachers end up covering the expenses themselves,” says Pam Schwartzberg, executive director of Learning for a Sustainable Future, a not-for-profit that works to integrate sustainability education into classrooms, and which partnered with Grand & Toy to select the winning teachers. “Today, programs like A Day Made Better are needed to support teachers in creating classrooms that are healthy, complete learning environments.”
To find the deserving recipients, teaching staff and parents were invited to visit Grand & Toy’s website to nominate teachers in their community who exhibited innovation, passion and creativity in the classroom.
“The father who nominated me was thrilled and mentioned again how much I deserved it. It’s a big honor, I don’t think I deserve it more than my colleagues, as I have had wonderful colleagues both at Merton and Royal Vale, but I think it’s fantastic to have a parent think about you that way and take the time to do that for you,” added Legault.
The program, a pillar of Grand &Toy’s corporate social responsibility strategy that focuses on fostering and supporting the education of underprivileged children from JK to Grade 12, is modelled after parent company OfficeMax’s program, which also surprised 1,000 winners today.