Introducing a brand new way to support Madison’s schools

What is Teachers PETS?

Our community believes in the promise of our public schools. What if we made it even easier to help make that promise a reality? 

The Teachers PETs Program will streamline the delivery of critical supplies to teachers and classrooms in need.
The Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools will further invest in the success of Madison public schools by developing, launching, and sustaining a teacher supply and support center that provides materials and resources for Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) K – 12 public school teachers. We are tentatively calling this program Teachers PETS – Progress, Equity, Tools, and Supplies.

Thank you, Evjue Foundation!

The Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools thanks the Evjue Foundation, for its generous support of Teachers PETS and for making the program pilot possible. To learn more about the Evjue Foundation and their enduring support of our mission, Click Here

Project Mission

Our Mission: To support every Madison public school teacher by ensuring equal access to learning tools and supplies
in order to promote student excellence in the pursuit of academic success and college readiness.

 This program, initiated and co-designed with Madison-area educator input, aligns with the district’s strategic framework and goals of student equity, teacher efficacy, and school success. The program will focus on assisting teachers in meeting critical needs gaps in student supplies and personal needs while meeting educators’ calls for teaching tools, equipment, and professional enrichment.

Get Involved Now!

Are you a teacher in need?

Results of the Teachers PETS pilot

The Teachers PETS program served one-hundred, K-12 educators from Midvale, Lincoln and Cherokee schools between January and March, 2020. The program focused on filling the supply gaps of classroom teachers, but also included some special education, art, physical education, music, language, and paraprofessional teachers.

After delivering $8,134.80 worth of vital student and teaching supplies into more than 150 classrooms, here’s what we discovered:

1. Demand for and appreciation of the supply program is high among all teachers with 80% placing orders before the COVID 19 “pause”. On delivery dates, retired-teacher volunteers and Foundation staff continued to receive many hugs, words of encouragement, and countless “thank you’s.”

2. Teachers told us, the greatest advantages of the program include: community support and recognition – providing a shopping budget, being run by retired teacher volunteers and providing on-site delivery directly to schools. Those advantages eliminate many of the pain points originally identified by teachers – time and money for supplies.

3. Orders included 95% of existing Teachers PETS online inventory, indicating demand for offerings. Product demands trend toward filling student academic needs as well as personal needs (cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, healthy snacks). Orders showed the heavy influence of art/active learning at Midvale and Lincoln followed by Cherokee with a stronger traditional/academic focus for older students.

4. Teachers pointed out specific inventory gaps, requested higher shopping budgets and more delivery dates in the coming years. Common requests the Foundation will work on meeting, include: books (for library classrooms), additional art supplies, winter clothing/gear for kids, sensory items (fidget spinners), flexible seating, balls of all kinds (e.g., ping pong, tennis, volleyball, basketball, kickball), and Frisbees.

5. Sustainability and expansion of the PETS program rides on strong partnerships. Our pilot success hinged upon Foundation connections with EZ Office Products, school leadership, and dedicated retired-teacher volunteers. The future will depend on maintaining central relationships and building stronger connections with community organizations, corporations and MMSD. Together, this network can unite resources and streamline distribution – bringing teachers and students what they need…when they need it most.

What did teachers say about the pilot?

Teacher Quotes from Pilot Program:

“Not only does this program provide supplies that are especially in short supply towards the latter half of the school year, it also demonstrates that the community cares about us and our students.”

“I couldn’t say enough thank-you’s to this support program. You are validating some very basic needs that we have for our students and classrooms. Papers, rulers, markers, tape, headphones, etc. go a long way for projects and activities in the classroom!”

“These supplies help me incorporate more art into my classroom.”

“I will be able to create more projects and add resources to my shared classroom supplies.”

What are the 2020-21 School Year Plans?

Plans for 2020-21 School Year

Resources permitting, the Foundation will offer a pilot 2.0 version of Teachers PETS. Our hoped for elements would include:

o Continuing to serve Midvale, Lincoln and Cherokee teachers.

o Adding 1-3 additional schools, including a high school.

o Opening a physical home for Teachers PETS in the lower level of the Foundation’s building, located at 101 Nob Hill Road, which would include: offices for staff, space for volunteers, storage, and a teachers’ lounge.

o Hosting teacher enrichment programs for groups of 5-30.

o Building partnerships with more community resources, partners and investors.

What are future plans for this progam?

Once the program is fully resourced and the Foundation has secured a space, we will be open and serving all Madison educators 11 months out of the year from July through May.

Program Stages

Share your questions and feedback!

To ask a question, provide feedback about this program or to request a product in our online store, please


A member of our staff will review and respond to you as quickly as possible. Thank you!

How can the community help?

How do I support the program?

To give a gift now in support of this program:

Please note:
In your gift “Notes” field, indicate that gift is for Teachers’ PETS.

To discuss sponsorship and partnership opportunities,
please contact us:

Melinda Heinritz, Executive Director,
Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools
(608) 237-7722;
or via email.
Thank you!

Who are our partners?

The Foundation is grateful to the following local partners for their critical support – time, expertise, advice, and/or resources – of Teachers PETS:

  • American Family Insurance
  • Demco
  • Destination Madison
  • Downtown Madison, Inc.
  • EZ Office Products
  • Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce
  • Madison Metropolitan School District
  • Madison Reading Project
  • Madison Teachers, Inc.
  • TASC
  • Vogel Brothers Building Company

Teacher supply programs exist in many places across the U.S. We also thank these organizations for providing referrals, answering our questions and providing best practices:

  • Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation, Clarksville, Tennessee
  • Kids in Need Foundation, Dayton, Ohio and Roseville, Minnesota
  • National School Foundation Association
  • Teacher EXCHANGE, A Green Initiative of the Public Education Foundation, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Teaching Tools Store, Hillsborough Education Foundation, Tampa, Florida
Why should I support Teachers PETS?

Simply put:
Well-Supplied Teachers  = Scholars Who Thrive

Research shows these benefits to ensuring educators are well-resourced:

Student Impact

  • 95% reported being better prepared for class
  • 86% felt ready to participate in class
  • 75% reported higher self-esteem
  • 75% reported an increased interest in learning

Teacher Impact

  • 79% felt they had the resources to create a more equitable learning environment
  • 74% reported that they could focus on teaching and other areas of need rather than worrying about supplies
  • 71% reported that they could increase the variety and scope of projects offered to students

Source: The Kids in Need Foundation, an organization dedicated to ensuring every child is prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom by providing free school supplies nationally to students most in need.

We need more supplies to create opportunities for kids to see, feel, and experience…that’s how kids really learn.    –MMSD Educator

A Special Thank You to Partners

EZ Office Products. The Teachers PETS pilot would not have been possible without Gary and Rose Molz and the entire team at EZ Office Products. These amazing friends believe strongly in the importance of strong public schools as the cornerstone of a strong democracy. They demonstrated this belief by building an MMSD online store, and picking, packing and delivering orders as an in-kind contribution.

Madison Teachers, Inc. The Foundation would also like to highlight the support of Madison Teachers, Inc., particularly the MTI-Retiree Unit. The following individuals, all retired MMSD educators, provided invaluable support during our program pilot: Bonnie Augusta, Maria Barlow, Tom Grogg, Joan Jacobson, Willie Kolb, Ruthann Lewis, Marty Meek, Marjorie Passman, Joanie Shahrani, and George Swamp. Most learned about Teachers PETS through MTI outreach.

Why Do We Need a Teacher Supply Program for Madison Public Schools?


Madison teachers are spending up $1,000 per year or 2% of their take-home pay on tools and supplies for their kids. Why?

  • 13,500 students in the district rely on free or reduced lunch (50%)
  • 450 classrooms across the district experience significant supply gaps throughout the year (average 30 kids per classroom)
  • MMSD teachers spend an estimated $1.4 million annually to meet student supply gaps (2,760 teachers averaging $500 out-of-pocket) to provide basic curriculum and instruction

From surveying and interviewing MMSD teachers, we have identified four areas of classroom need:



When teachers have the tools and supplies they need…

Teachers become more effective in their jobs

They create more learning opportunities for their students

Classrooms achieve equity by ensuring all students have what they need to hit the ground running

Learning is prioritized and enhanced

Students excel

Teachers are more satisfied in their jobs and fulfilled by their efforts


Through our pilot phase and over time, we will continue to work with MMSD educators, MMSD’s research team and the community to describe and measure the outcomes produced by Teachers PETS. Our preliminary desired outcomes include:

  • Reduce teacher out-of-pocket expenses by 75%
  • Reduce and/or complement MMSD spending on supplies: TBD
  • Increase student self-esteem and engagement by 50%
  • Increase teacher sense of efficacy and satisfaction by 50%


Throughout its history, the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools has awarded grants to Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) classroom projects.  In past years, the Foundation distributed approximately $90,000 to 8-12 different projects through a competitive grants program called Foundation for the Future.  In the context of our 2018-2021 strategic plan, our Grants Committee reconsidered our approach, which benefited only a handful of MMSD’s 2,700 teachers and 5,500 total staff.

Key Steps

In November 2017, the Grants Committee formally presented recommendations to the Foundation board for approval.  Among those recommendations, the committee recommended exploration of a teacher supply program, leading staff to undertake the following:

  • Surveyed teachers about interest through Madison Teachers, Inc. (MTI). 90% or more of respondents expressed interest in an FMPS managed program.
  • Reached out to other programs in the United States to learn about challenges, pain points and best practices.
  • Talked informally with potential partners in the community such as EZ Office Supplies, which could provide logistical – pick-up and delivery – services to the teacher supply program, and the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, which could help promote the program to members.
  • Completed a business plan with Synergy Consulting over the winter of 2018-2019 to inform our decision to continue the project.
  • Hired a project consultant, a Teacher Program Manager, to take the business plan into a pilot phase during the winter of 2019-2020.
  • Managed the successful Teachers PETS pilot during the 2019-20 school year at three locations: Midvale Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School and Cherokee Heights Middle School.

Based on the pilot outcomes, the Foundation believes even more strongly in the value of a teacher supply program, both to MMSD and the Madison community. We look forward to continuing Teachers PETS during the 2020-21 school year.