EDINBURG — Not even a global pandemic, it seems, can slake the thirst of a grade schooler for new school supplies. Not at De Zavala Elementary, anyway.
By 2 p.m. Monday, the school had distributed materials, textbooks and supplies to 187 students, about 37% of its total enrollment. By the end of the week, Principal Marisa Garza says, the school is hoping all 440 students in De Zavala’s projected enrollment will have the notebooks, pens, pencils, highlighters and textbooks they need to start learning.
“Basic materials that our kids need so that they can start off the year successfully,” Garza said. “I think it’s very important for our students to know that the district cares about ensuring every student has what they need when we start. Even though we’re going through this change in our educational year, we’re going to do everything we can to guide them and give them the tools they need.”
De Zavala isn’t the only Edinburg CISD campus handing out school supplies. In July, the district’s trustees approved spending $300,000 to purchase school supplies for all of its students from pre-K to 12th grade, over 34,000 students in total.
“Due to the difficult times that we are going through right now, many families will have to buy supplies for their students,” ECISD Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dahlia Z. Guzman wrote in a statement last month. “So, we thought that we would supply our students with some basic school supplies.”
While Garza says Edinburg CISD students have received supplies before, this year’s distribution is unprecedented in its magnitude.
“Every single child is going to get every single textbook that they need, and the supplies that go along with it. It’s a very big undertaking,” she said.
Edinburg students will attend the beginning of their school year online this year, like students across the Valley. Garza says the supplies De Zavala is distributing this year will help complement that online learning.
“The materials that we’ve provided support the things that we’re going to be learning through Google Classroom,” she said. “Since all kids learn differently, we find that it’s important for all kids to have the resources and materials that they need. Most specifically, with textbooks, they allow that second support, where even when students are learning wonderfully from their teachers online and virtually, they also have that textbook they can refer to if they have any questions.”
Parents, Garza said, appeared to be grateful to have the supplies coming their way. Among the parents who picked up supplies at De Zavala on Monday was Teresa Cañas, whose children are in second and third grade. Cañas said that despite the year starting off completely online, her children needed the same supplies they’d need any year, especially for reading and writing learning.
“It’s not all virtual,” she said. “They’re going to be working out of these notebooks, taking notes. It’s going to be something they’re used to along with what’s new.”
Cañas’ children, along with the rest of ECISD’s students, will start school on Aug. 31.
“They’re excited to start the year,” she said.