Back to class

In less than five minutes on May 20, that world was turned upside down when a tornado demolished her school as well as neighboring Plaza Towers Elementary.

Between the two schools, Singleton and some 80 teachers lost most of the classroom supplies they had bought, made or borrowed during their careers. Such items either were not covered by the school district’s insurance policy or capped at a small amount if a teacher had homeowner’s insurance.

With the realization that many teachers in Moore are starting over, the Moore Public Schools Foundation has established the Adopt-A-Teacher program and is asking for local businesses to donate funds. The organization took the first step by giving each affected teacher $1,000.

“I couldn’t do my job,” said Dr. Kristi Scroggins, a Moore veterinarian who is the schools foundation’s outgoing president. “My clinic was disabled for a week with no power. I had all these fancy tools that I normally use every day, and I could do nothing. It makes you absolutely helpless when you don’t have the supplies you need.

“Those kids and teachers have all been through a lot. Anything we can do to make their lives easier and that first day of school better — that’s what we want to do.”

Amid a summer of writing grants and collecting materials from friends to start over, Singleton has a 25th wedding anniversary trip to Hawaii to look forward to. And thanks to the Moore Public Schools Foundation, she has a head start on rebuilding a collection of classroom supplies that began before she was married.

“It’s like losing your home,” she said, looking through a chain-link fence that surrounds what used to be her school.

Each teacher was asked to make a list of items lost in the storm before checking out for the school year.

Singleton said one coworker’s inventory totaled $35,000.

“Anywhere from $15,000 to $35,000 is what the teachers I’ve talked to turned in,” Singleton said.

What remained of Singleton’s classroom
Bobby Anderson Agency

One reason for the large amounts is that primary-grade teachers juggle all subjects — math, reading, science and language arts — and must compile materials for them all. The school district provides the curriculum, but it’s up to the teachers to pay for the items that help students grasp the concepts.

“You don’t really know where to start,” said Singleton. “I’m trying to think practically what I items I can’t do without. Every day, I’ll think of things I didn’t put on my inventory that I use. I feel so overwhelmed, and I know everyone else right now is just trying to collect items and find where to put them.”

To donate to the Adopt-A-Teacher program, call the Moore Public Schools Donation Center at 735-4219 or email

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Dean Anderson

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