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There was once a time when the days between mid May and early August were filled with adventures and summer camp, a carefree era of Fruit by the Foot and Capri-Sun before the perils of spiral notebooks and syllabi once again took over.

For some, that magical journey through the realm of “No Responsibilities” is coming to a close as back to school outfits come together and backpacks fill with supplies. And while there are families aplenty gearing up for the return to the academic journey, teachers throughout our community are also preparing for their new students.

It’s a chaotic time to say the least, and even more so when you consider that teachers are often reaching into their own wallets to make sure their students and classrooms are 100 percent prepared for the school year. 

We here at Tucson Local Media have devised a way to help out. After the runaway success of last year’s pillow drive benefitting victims of domestic abuse, we’ve decided to host a school supply drive for local teachers. Everything raised will go to Tucson Values Teachers.

TVT works to create an environment in which the issues of the teacher workforce can be addressed.

Over the last 10 years, the organization has delivered more than $1 million in school supplies throughout Southern Arizona.

“Teachers are really struggling in our state, and there is a teacher crisis,” said TVT CEO Andrew Heinemann. “We need to make sure that teachers feel supported and valued so they stay in the profession.”

Beginning this Wednesday, July 17 through Thursday, Aug. 1, our offices (located at 7225 N. Mona Lisa Road #125) will act as a drop-off point for supplies. Bring some extra pencils, pens, notebooks, erasers, binders—you name it—and we will make sure it’s all sent to a classroom just in time for the new school year. For more informaton on the organization, head on over to tucsonvaluesteachers.org.

While we were busy figuring out a way to make sure local teachers can provide their students with the necessary supplies to ensure everyone has a successful year, the Tucson Local Media writing staff was hard at work assembling another edition of our Back to School Special.

This year, staff reporter Kathleen Kunz looks at teacher pay in Arizona, associate editor Jeff Gardner follows up on the vaping epidemic and staff reporter Christopher Boan sits down with student-athletes to discuss how they stayed in-shape over the summer.

Read all of that, and more, beginning after page 16.

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