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Tampa Bay charter school trying to raise money through new Adopt-A-Classroom campaign

TAMPA, Fla. — Starting a new school year is already expensive, but going back during a pandemic is putting even more stress on the budgets of teachers and parents.

Pepin Academies has created an Adopt-A-Classroom and Adopt-A-Student campaign.

James Jacobelli’s sixth-grade reading class plans to throw a sorting ceremony when they finish reading “Harry Potter.” The Adopt-A-Classroom program allows for this type of innovation.

“Things like that would be really hard to do without programs like this because it’s a lot of extra costs but its something the students really remember and it gets them excited about reading,” said Jacobelli.

Pepin Academies is a nonprofit independent charter school for students with learning disabilities in grades 3-12.

“The type of education we provide is so highly customized it just isn’t covered by the funds that are normally allocated to the schools,” said Dan Orrico, with the Pepin Academies Foundation.

“The costs for COVID enhancements and the precautions we need to take have easily gone into the six figures this year,” said Pepin Academies executive director Jeff Skowronek.

The school is looking for the community’s help. For $1,000, you can adopt a classroom and for $250 you can adopt a student for the school year.

“So many students don’t have the resources at home to have the supplies they need so the more we are able to give them as a school community really helps our students be successful,” said Jacobelli.

Pepin has more than 100 classrooms across three campuses. They are particularly looking to businesses to step up, not just by writing a check, but taking a seat at a desk.

“Have our business community and individuals be more engaged with the classroom, be more engaged with the students, understand what it is that is really happening here, why it’s so special,” said Orrico.

Julie Weintraub is proud to say her business adopted the library. She says when it comes to education, teachers shouldn’t have to cut corners.

“Those adoptions allow the teachers to get the tools they need to be able to help these children succeed,” said Weintraub.

Pepin Academies’ goal is to have every classroom adopted by the end of the year.

For more information, or to adopt a classroom or student, go to pepinacademiesfoundation.org.

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