Community steps up for area teachers

Staff at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Meadows Mountain Realty have a close connection to both Highlands and Summit Charter Schools and took it upon themselves to donate $100 to each classroom at both schools to offset the out-of-pocket cost of supplies for teachers.

“The state and county budgets don’t provide enough money for the supplies teachers need,” said Tricia Cox, Vice President of Berkshire Hathaway. “I hope the little bit we gave offsets the out-of-pocket costs. Giving back is a way to be grateful for the blessings we have.”

Summit Charter students enjoy story time reading books purchased from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Meadows Mountain Realty’s donation of $100 to each classroom in Highlands and Summit schools.

Rotary Club of Highlands also gives each classroom at Highlands School $100 on an annual basis to offset the cost of materials for teachers. Rotary has been supporting teachers in Highlands for at least 15 years said Rotarian Derek Taylor.

Macon County Superintendent Chris Baldwin said the state allocated $30.12 per student on average daily membership (ADM), plus $2.69 per ADM in grades 8 and 9 for PSAT Testing in 2018-‘19.  

Last year the school board allocated $20 per student from the local appropriation in 2018-’19. 

“This year we will be increasing the local allocation to $25 per student in 2019-‘20,” said Baldwin. “The total amount will not be confirmed until after the tenth day of school. At that point, we will have a better idea of the actual number of students at each school for 2019-‘20.”

Highlands Principal Brian Jetter said Berkshire Hathaway’s and Rotary Club’s donations are most appreciated.

“I think it’s great they recognize how good our teachers are and how hard they work,” said Jetter.

Highlands Vice Principal Sarah Holbrooks spent a decade as a teacher and knows full well the difficulties teachers face when it comes to classroom supplies.

“You can never have enough as a teacher,” said Holbrooks. “You constantly have out-of-pocket expenses for all of the extras, and our teachers always go the extra mile. Donations like these means so much to them.”

She added that having such a supportive community is one way they are able to retain talented teachers.

“They are so thankful for this,” said Holbrooks. “Not often do you have the support from the community like we do here. Not only monetarily, but volunteering, committees, technology, lots of things. That’s amazing and I think that’s one reason we keep our teachers. Plus, donors know their money is going to good use.”

Summit Charter School 1st-grade teacher Maggie Sowell spent some of her $100 to buy books and other project materials.

“I think it’s really great,” said Sowell. “I got books with my students’ favorite characters and I’m able to get hands-on materials for STEM projects, which I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do.”

Summit Art Teacher Gretchen Kapity immediately went out and picked up a variety of goods for her classroom with her $100, including posters, crayons, markers, duct tape, and storage bins.

“I’m so blown away with the generosity of the people at Berkshire,” said Kapity. “It’s so sweet they care about all of us, not just their kids, they did it across the board. It was all about the big picture.”

Pictured at the top of the article is Summit Charter Art Teacher Gretchen Kapity displaying goods purchased thanks to the recent donations.

Photos by Sayla Roman
Article by Brian O’Shea
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Teachers and students at Highlands and Summit Charter Schools expressed gratitude for both Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Meadows Mountain Realty and Rotary Club of Highlands’ donations.


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