Going back to school is always an exciting time of year for educators.

The promise of what the new year will hold is what keeps us coming back, year after year. And as we all get ready and prepare for our new classes, we start looking at purchasing things for our classrooms. Yet, this year, many of us are facing tough, tight budgets. Classroom teachers are facing cutbacks in materials fees and even in what they can request parents to purchase. And arts teachers have had their budgets reduced at dramatic rates. This makes it extremely difficult to get our rooms ready for the year to come. However, I have some great news! We at EducationCloset have been scouring many sources to find you great bargains for the start of your year.

Here are some of the most exciting offers we’ve found:

1.) NoteKnacks is now offering their fabulous note-reading system at discounted rates! If you’re not familiar with their products and you are interested in arts integration or in a fantastic way to teach note-reading in the music classroom, read more about that here. And now, just in time for back-to-school, they have lowered their prices! Student sets are now $39.95, Teacher sets are now $59.95, Small Classroom Sets are now $129.85 and Large Classroom sets are now only $199.75. And don’t forget the discount for EducationCloset readers found here! This is a great way to stretch your budgets just a bit further.

2.) Office Depot is offering a 20% savings off your in-store purchases with their Star Teacher Appreciation program. Simply apply for free to be a Star Teacher (which you are!) and on your event weekend, get 20% off your purchase and a free breakfast! Yummy!

3.) Not as impressive, but still worth a look is the Staples Teacher Appreciation Day.  Each store and city has a special day this month set aside especially for teachers.  You’ll receive a free gift bag as well as coupons to shop for your must-have items.  The coupons are definitely worth making the trek, so be sure to check the website for your city’s day and times.

4.) Schoodoodle.com is have a HUGE closeout sale on hundreds of items that are great for all classrooms.  Be sure to take a peek to see if you can snag some of these great bargains for your own classroom.

One more thing:

I’m a big believer in giving back (one of the reasons I went into teaching in the first place) and I know that most teachers feel the same way.  If you can afford to do so, try and find an organization in your area that accepts donations for student supplies and provide them with a few things.  Places like the Teachers Supply Closet in Charleston, SC offers supplies to teachers and students in need.  These are also a great place to go to find items for your own classroom if you are on an extremely limited budget.  Most areas in the country have organizations like this, so just keep these in mind as we begin this exciting new year.

Do you know of a great place to find a great deal for back-to-school items?  Please share them with us!  Happy bargain hunting!