Program designed to help instructors and children
by: Photo courtesy of Glenfair Elementary School Glenfair Elementary School teacher Dana Bussey was a recipient of a national “A Day Made Better” award for her teaching efforts and received $1,000 in OfficeMax school supplies on Oct. 4.

When Dana Bussey came to teach fifth grade at Glenfair Elementary School, 15300 N.E. Glisan St., on Oct. 4, she had no idea what a grand day she was about to have.

In fact, it was one grand day, as in $1,000.

However, she figured something was up 'when (Principal Terri King) came in with this big smile with these three people trailing behind her.'

Those three people were from OfficeMax's A Day Made Better program, which works in partnership with the national program Adopt-A-Classroom, to help end the need for teacher-funded classrooms.

Bussey received 'a big orange box' filled with $1,000 worth of school supplies from the partnership, including whiteboard erasers, sticky notes, markers, pens, a printer and a digital camera. She also received a swivel chair and was particularly excited to get the camera.

'If we're having a moment where the kids are working together and working well I can just grab that camera and document it,' she said, adding she can share the photos with parents at open houses.

Bussey, in her fifth year of teaching in the Reynolds School District, estimates she spends about $300 a year on school supplies. Some of her purchases are reimbursed by the district, she added, but she noted many teachers wind up spending money out of pocket on classroom items. Some even go so far as to purchase clothing for children from low-income households.

'They're making sure kids are outfitted to learn, whether it's getting them a pencil or mending their sweater,' she said. 'Teachers who care find a way to make sure kids are feeling good about themselves, feeling good enough so they can concentrate on learning.'

A 2001 graduate of Vassar College in New York, the Madison, Wis., native said she loves to teach because it gives her a chance to discover 'what makes that light bulb turn on for different kids.

'It's fun spending your time figuring out different ways that kids can learn,' she said.

A Day Made Better

According to A Day Made Better, teachers nationwide spend roughly $1,000 out of their own pockets each year to offset school budget shortfalls and ensure students have the necessary tools for learning.

Each year, OfficeMax and Adopt-A-Classroom work with school principals nationwide to select and recognize 1,000 teachers like Bussey with an A Day Made Better award and $1,000 in classroom supplies donated by OfficeMax.

OfficeMax associates join principals on the first Tuesday each October to honor the teacher and present the donation.

Principals can nominate a teacher based on their passion for teaching, their innovation in the classroom, their dedication to the profession and the success of their students. Bussey's former principal, Shane Bassett, now principal of Sweetbriar Elementary in Troutdale, nominated her for the award last winter.

'She is an excellent teacher who has taught several different grades,' Bassett said. 'She has done a fine job in adapting to her students' needs and weaving creativity into her practices.'

For example, Bassett said, he recalled Bussey asking her students to write essays to him about ways to improve the school.

This helped the students learn persuasive writing and raised their awareness of things that could be done to make the school a better place, he said.

Since 2007, OfficeMax's A Day Made Better and Adopt-A-Classroom have funded more than 5,500 classrooms nationwide with more than $5.5 million in grants and school supplies, and helped secure funding for more than 67,000 classrooms through donations to Adopt-A-Classroom.

To help

• For more information on how to outfit a teacher's classroom, visit

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