Philadelphia teachers gifted school supplies as part of 'Abbott Elementary' tour

ByCaroline Goggin WPVI logo
Friday, February 2, 2024
Teachers gifted school supplies as part of 'Abbott Elementary' tour
Philadelphia teachers gifted school supplies as part of 'Abbott Elementary' tour

PHILADELPHIA -- Teachers at several public schools in Philadelphia were gifted meals and school supplies on Friday as part of the "Lunch Break with Abbott Elementary National Tour."

The tour, which kicked off in New York on Thursday, made stops at the Frances Willard School in Port Richmond, James R. Ludlow Elementary in Kensington, and Gloria Casarez Elementary in Kensington.

From Philadelphia, the tour heads to schools in Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles before the premiere of the next season of the show next week.

The tour is making stops to treat teachers in underserved school districts to a celebratory meal and other goodies.

"We are in the heart of Kensington. We are a diamond in the rough here at Willard Elementary, and we just truly appreciate this kind gesture," said Leslie Strothers, assistant principal at Frances Willard Elementary.

Teachers at each stop were handed a swag bag full of school supplies.

"I'm just so grateful. We have an electric pencil sharpener, which is so needed when you have a large class size," said Rebecca Kalbach, a second grade teacher at Ludlow Elementary. "We have markers to grade our papers. We have Sharpies to do our charts, and pencils, and expo markers for our whiteboards, and folders, and scissors. Everything teachers need and spend their own money on."

Kalbach said she spends about $1,000 on school supplies for her classroom every year.

"It's all about the kids. That's what it's about. You want the classrooms to be inviting. You want the kids to feel part of it," she said. "If they can't afford their school supplies, you want to have that all ready for them when they come into the classroom."

In total, the tour will be distributing over 10,000 school supply items to teachers across the country.

Khary Moody, the principal at Ludlow, said he was so excited his school was recognized.

"Sometimes it's a thankless job. We come day in and day out to work on behalf of the students in the future," Moody said. "So, just to have the recognition, and us being a smaller school tucked away in North Philadelphia, it means a lot because we do tremendous work here at Ludlow and we do it under the radar."

Lynette Mason, an artistic support instructor at Gloria Casarez Elementary, said she loves watching Abbott Elementary, especially because the show is set in a Philadelphia public school.

"Many times I'm going, 'That happened! That happened at our school! How did they know?'" Mason joked.

Mason said Friday's tour stop offered a moment for teachers to be recognized.

"We come into this community every day. Many of us have been here many years, but we come because we love the families. It's just nice when someone takes a moment to let you know that you're appreciated," she explained.