A new viral giving campaign to help teachers has swept the nation, and one local business is making teachers’ dreams come true.

From flexible seating to watercolors and canvas, Stonewater Roofing helped one Caldwell Arts Academy third-grade teaching team equip their classrooms with everything they need to innovate and enhance learning for the next school year.

Principal Bobby Markle said flexible seating is a big ask this year, because it helps keep students engaged and helps them feel more secure in the classroom. As Caldwell expands from a magnet elementary school to a full arts-integrated K-8, teachers are doing their part to help shape what new curriculum can look like.

“It’s hard to budget for (flex seating) because they are pricey, so things like this are vital,” he said. “For us, (innovation) is critical. We believe kids need engaging and cognitively demanding curriculum.”

Flexible seating can involve simply letting students choose where they sit or it can mean providing more seating options such as bean bag chairs, floor pillows, yoga ball seats and standing work tables in addition to traditional chairs and desks.

While Caldwell employs a variety of novel teaching tools, Markle said it’s great to see teachers taking initiative. He wants his teachers to feel like they have the autonomy to try new things.

Trent Spradlin, chief marketing officer for Stonewater Roofing, said the company noticed the #ClearTheLists hashtag taking off and saw it as an opportunity to engage with the community. Spradlin said the company posted on social media that it wanted to help teachers out, and ended up with over 20,000 responses.

“It’s good to see an idea we had, just on a whim, come to fruition,” Spradlin said. “The fact we’re able to put a smile on the teacher’s face and help students is just a win-win for everyone.”

In all, the company will be delivering more than 100 packages to teachers in the Tyler area.

Earlier this month, more than 45 local teachers submitted their wish lists to the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

To find teachers looking for help, search the #ClearTheLists hashtag on Facebook and Twitter.


Cory is a multimedia journalist and member of the Education Writers Association, Criminal Justice Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has appeared on Crime Watch Daily and Grave Mysteries on Investigation Discovery.

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