Tools for Schools

Tools for Schools
Tools for Schools
Tools For Schools Logo

Tools For Schools is a reusable resource center located in Alachua County, Florida, providing new and gently used educational supplies to Alachua County Public School teachers at no cost. Tools for Schools operates with disadvantaged children in mind since many parents cannot afford the cost of a school lunch, let alone the necessary school supplies. Tools for Schools hopes to alleviate some of the economic pressure teachers are faced with every school year.

You can help! Every day, local businesses and households throw away countless items which still have educational value to them. Overruns and no longer needed supplies are just a few of the materials sent to the landfill instead of being reused. Imagine those items in the hands of eager students! They become useful supplies to help make math, science, and language arts concepts real.

Tools for Schools is a partnership of the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners and the Alachua County Public Schools that offers a place for teachers to shop for learning materials at no cost. Businesses and individuals provide the materials, and teachers visit the store to select items for their students.​

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Our Mission
Our Mission

display of school supplies at Tools for Schools

Finding a common bond between children, teachers, businesses, and citizens is challenging. Tools for Schools assists the community by providing students and teachers with the supplies needed for success. We help the environment by avoiding disposal of reusable items and conserving resources. Each year, in Alachua County, we throw away more than 160,000 tons of garbage. Sixty-five percent of this refuse comes from the commercial sector of our community and many of these items can, and should, be reused.

Tools for Schools aims to educate the community in recognizing the value of these materials and getting them into Alachua County classrooms. Our staff can help businesses and individuals recognize the beneficial portion of the waste stream. Please contact us and for guidelines and advice on how you can help.​

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Principals
Principals

As a principal, your participation is essential to the success of Tools for Schools. Please encourage your teachers to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to obtain free materials for their students.

To ensure the success of Tools for Schools, please use the following guidelines:

  • Assign a school liaison to communicate with the resource center. The liaison will be responsible for the distribution of information from the center and handle any administrative issues. Teachers should direct questions and comments about the center through their liaison.
  • Attend an orientation/shopping trip with your liaison at Tools for Schools.
  • Schedule a representative from Tools for Schools to speak with all eligible teachers. He or she will:
    • Explain the mission of Tools for Schools
    • Explain where we get merchandise and how it is distributed
    • Explain store hours and the days of the week the store is open or when the mobile unit is in the area
    • Explain how we thank our donors and the importance of student involvement in completing this task
    • Tell everyone in our community about Tools for Schools and encourage donations to the program
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How to Shop
How to Shop

Alachua County public school teachers are allowed to shop once a month at either the main Tools for Schools Center or at the Tools for Schools Mobile Unit.  Please visit the "Tools for Schools Schedule" page for hours of operation, directions and for more information.​ 

Shopping hours:

For adjusted hours due to Covid 19 please visit the "Tools for Schools Schedule​" page. 

Store Policies:

  • ​Check in at the front desk. You must show a photo ID each time you shop employee photo identification or driver's license accepted.
  • Since store space is limited, we ask that no children or other guests accompany you into the store.
  • Please respect the limits we set on items. Take only what you need for your classroom.
  • After making selections, and appropriately marking them on the checkout form, please check out at the front desk. Do not forget to sign your form at the bottom.
  • All items are for school use only and may be taken by teachers in Alachua County only.
  • Sorry, we cannot hold items.
  • Tools for Schools is not responsible for merchandise after it leaves the premises

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Support the Program
Support the Program

How You Can Help

Donations to Tools for Schools come in all forms! small, large, traditional, and non-traditional!

Individuals can donate items they no longer use such as office supplies and equipment, school supplies, arts and crafts materials, facial tissues, paper towels and much more!

You can also hold a supply drive with your community organization, neighborhood, or workplace!

Or, if collecting items that are new or gently used is not your thing, a few dollars go a long way to bring the essential learning materials to a student in need by visiting our Amazon Wishlist for always needed classroom items.

We are always seeking volunteers to help in the Tools for Schools store during open hours. Fill out an application

All donations go directly to Alachua County Public School teachers-DONATE TODAY!


How Your Business Can Help

Tools for Schools offers a year-round opportunity for businesses, organizations and individuals to play an active role in our community. Everyone can provide school supplies, monetary donations or volunteer assistance to benefit the students and teachers in our schools. Join us in this partnership for Alachua County's children.

Here are some suggestions how, with little effort, your business can make a dramatic and positive difference in the lives of our kids.

  1. Donate out-of-date or left over materials (stationery, pens, pencils, notebooks), manufacturing by-products or castoffs. Remember, what may seem like trash to you, could be the treasure a teacher needs to inspire a student.
  2. If your business does not have such items, you can hold a materials drive and collect new or gently used school supplies. We are always in need of traditional and non-traditional school supplies. We will happily provide collection boxes and promotional materials to assist your business in a successful supply drive. Or if a fundraiser sounds more interesting, Tools For Schools graciously accepts monetary donations or visit our Amazon Wishlist​ because throughout the year it becomes necessary to purchase supplies in order to meet the needs of our students and these items are always in need.

Without a doubt, your business is a channel from us to other businesses. Spread the word and teach others to understand our needs and help us turn the trash from our business community into treasures for our children.

Call 352-374-5213 for details on how your business can help.​

 

Supply Drives

Throughout the year, Tools for Schools will ask businesses to sponsor supply drives. They in turn will ask employees to donate new or gently used school supplies, such as pens, paper, markers, crayons, glue, notebooks, folders, and more. Alachua County employees ran the first supply drive and turned in enough materials to stock the store for the first three months. A continual supply is needed for these high-demand items can be found here on our Amazon wish list.

To sign up for our Back-to-School Supply Drive, please call 352-374-5213.

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Suggested Donations
Suggested Donations

This is a basic list of suggested items that teachers always can use in the classroom. Just because we do not list it does not mean it would not make a great learning tool! Our Amazon wishlist can be found here, and donations new and used are always appreciated.


General Types of Materials Needed

non-traditional learning tools

factory seconds or rejects

production overruns

obsolete inventory/logo items

magnifying lenses

rock and mineral collections

rulers

microscopes

small countable items

calculators

geometric figures (tangrams)

magnets


School/Office Supplies

pencils

pens (black, blue or red)

markers

crayons

colored pencils

scissors

dry erase markers

rulers

staplers

glue/glue sticks/paste

paper (all kinds)

note cards

note pads

hole punches

2-pocket folders

paper clips

rubber bands

binder clips

tabbed dividers

labels

in/out trays

file folders

sheet protectors

chalk

craft paint (child safe paint)

paint brushes

dry-erase boards


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Benefits
Benefits

Teacher Benefits

All teachers are familiar with the costly burden of supplying school materials for their classrooms every year. Tools for Schools lightens this burden by providing an abundance of educational tools at no cost. Public school teachers from the Alachua County School District have access to the center. Teachers can earn additional shopping days by volunteering.


Student Benefits

A lack of materials infringes upon a student's potential for learning and creativity. Tools for Schools provides Alachua County's teacher with a greater variety of essential materials, both traditional and non-traditional, at no cost for their students.


Business Benefits

Local businesses play an extremely valuable role in the community by becoming business partners and donating to Tools for Schools. Not only will the business reduce their amount of waste, but they will be providing free resources for educational use throughout the community. The Alachua County Commission and the School Board of Alachua County recognize these businesses as sponsors.


Community Benefits

What once reflected negative images of alcohol and tobacco sales is now a positive influence, benefiting local children and teachers. The old convenience store located next to Williams Elementary School, near Lincoln Middle School, is now Tools for Schools, a reusable resource center for teachers. 

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Environmental Benefits

Every day, valuable items are thrown away while resources are unnecessarily used to create new materials. By reusing materials, we can help our environment by conserving our natural resources and extending the life of our landfills. Help reduce waste, conserve resources, and save money!​​​

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Contact

  • Tools for Schools
  • 1147 SE 7th Ave
  • Gainesville, FL 32641
  • Phone: 352-374-5213
  • TDD/TTY users, please call 711 (Florida Relay Service)
  • The Tools for Schools center is open on Wednesday afternoons from 1:00pm-5:00pm during the school year.​

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