Texas Education Agency online registry helping school districts affected by Harvey

Two months after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Texas Gulf Coast, students are back in school, although maybe not the same school.

“We've had approximately 275 districts and 1.4 million students impacted in some way directly by the storm,” said Texas Education Agency spokesperson Lauren Callahan.

Some school districts lost thousands of textbooks and other instructional materials.

Others have gained thousands of displaced students.

“We've anecdotally heard stories of districts that have one book and they're copying pages for all their kids to have. Our districts are being immensely resourceful in making sure our students have what they need,” Callahan said.

The Texas Education Agency knew they had to find a way to make school a more comfortable place for families who already suffered so much loss.

“If you don't have the material in your hand, you're not engaged in the lesson or maybe you're not able to do your homework,” said Callahan.

That's when they came up with the idea to create an instructional materials registry on their website, which works much like a wedding registry does.

“We knew the need would be great and would be in several areas, so we wanted to set up a registry so that people could donate the items they had or donate money to help these districts as they reopen their doors and educate their students,” Callahan said.

So far seven Texas school districts have donated to those signed up on the registry.

One school district in Wisconsin also chipped in.

“This is the first time we've done something like this. As best we know, this is the first time this has been offered in this variety across the country,” said Callahan.

16 districts have signed up on the registry. The needs for four of them have already been completely met and eight other districts have had some of their materials donated.

Still 11 Texas school districts need thousands more materials.

The instructional materials registry is updated nightly on the TEA's website.

There are also instructions on how to sign up for help or send materials.

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