Saturday, August 28, 2010

Supplies Overlord...or Overload...or Something

Unlike most parents at our elementary school, I spent time over at the school every single day for the week before school started (except for that Friday out with my mom). I'm sure the kids had already had their fill of the playground, long before that first bell rang.

On the upside, I got early access to class lists and already knew I was happy with where the kids had been placed. Most parents were left to be anxious about that for several days after I knew. On the downside, every time I looked at this:I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I was just one tiny person in a vast sea of school supplies.

A couple of the third grade teachers, who are oh-so-particular, decided they wanted their supplies earlier than my promised Thursday delivery date. I made no promises, but since I have reason to want happy third grade teachers this year, I was compelled to go in by myself and sift through the third grade supplies. I was lucky to have a good friend join me for part of the morning because it was a ton of stuff to go through. I arrived around 9. We had it delivered around a couple of very happy and appreciative ladies.

Naturally, the third teacher on their team noticed us delivering supplies. I didn't have time to deliver hers, but by that evening, I had an e-mail requesting her supplies as well, please. I went back to deliver those on my own the next day.

Wednesday, a small team of volunteers came and we opened all the boxes to make sure we had everything for each grade. Naturally, we didn't. But at least we knew what we didn't have. It was a job made difficult by the fact that the janitorial staff chose Tuesday afternoon to wax half the room housing the supplies, giving us very little room to work in.We basically had that little corner back there where all the supplies are stacked.

Thursday, a large team of volunteers came and helped divvy everything up into supplies for each classroom. More things were missing and I'm not sure why. Who would steal 50 packages of colored pencils?? But everything got squared away. My little micromanaging brain had a moment of panic when I realized that I really didn't know who took what where, but I'm so appreciative that we have such a great school community where I could recruit 16 volunteers without much effort, that I had to let that little aspect of the process go.

I've spent the past week retrieving missing items and dealing with botched orders, but I think my job is nearly at an least mostly. I still have two quarters worth of baby wipes to purchase, after all. But I'm fairly happy with how things turned out. Unlike my last big PTA project, I feel like this one was a success, as far as it went.

I have some ideas about how to improve the process. I'll be happy to share those with next year's school supply chair!

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