Do you currently have a CTE classroom wish list?

A few years ago, my CTE director came to me at the beginning of May. She had a $30,000 grant that she needed to spend at the end of June. If it didn’t get spent, it expired.

To get the money spent, equipment or supplies delivered and invoiced, I had about a week to come up with a plan.

Has this ever happened to you? That was the largest amount of money someone had offered me, but it wasn’t the first time.

I admit that during my first year of teaching I had an extra $300 in supply money and wasted it. I didn’t know what to do with that extra money. So I bought a small machine that would help cut out letters for bulletin boards.

What was I even thinking!?!

When I left the school, I was able to find another teacher to “gift” it to, but I don’t know if it was ever used. It may have ended up in the garbage.

Being prepared in the first example of the $30,000, allowed me to get what I wanted and needed.

Creating a classroom wish list now will help you be prepared for any extra money you may get.

We’re going to talk about ways to create your wish list including keeping track of equipment, enhancing existing projects, and looking at program goals.

Evaluating Equipment for Classroom Wish List

One of the perks of being a CTE teacher is that we have equipment.

Sometimes that equipment can be a blessing and a curse. It’s nice to have, but we are generally the ones responsible for the maintenance.

When it comes to replacing equipment, it seems like every district or school does things a little differently. Some budget a certain amount of money per school or per program for equipment.

For example, you may get a $2000 budget each year for supplies and equipment.

Others put all the money into one program each year and then rotate the program. 

Like, all the agriculture programs get greenhouses built one year and then all the video programs get new computer labs the next.

If you don’t know already, find out how your district chooses to divide that equipment money each year.

Even though you will most likely get equipment money at some point, it is a good idea to keep an inventory. You can do this by using a spreadsheet to track equipment that needs replacing or fixed.

Sometimes you will need more money because you need to replace something sooner than the schedule.

Other times, you may also want to get something a little nicer. Like auto-darkening welding helmets instead of “head-knockers.”

In any case, make sure you a prepared with a classroom wish list to replace or update equipment.

Enhancing Current Projects with a Classroom Wish List

Once upon a time, I wanted a small injection molder for my classroom. I was teaching a materials and processes class at the time, and the molder would help my students learn that process better.

The only problem was, I didn’t have the time to create a new project around the injection molder. Sadly, it sat untouched on my counter.

Don’t let this be you. Spend your money on supplies or equipment to enhance what you are already doing.

For example, our graphic design teacher teaches his students how to draw a vector image. He found out I had a vinyl cutter, so now he has his students cut out their vector images after. 


All he had to do was figure out how to use the vinyl cutter. The extra perk to this project is that now those students use those stickers to promote his program. Their friends ask where they made the sticker and they tell them about his class.

I want you to think about all the projects and assignments that you are currently doing. Make a list of some supplies or equipment that would enhance that project. 

Keep track of this list and update it whenever you get an idea. Now you have some more items for your CTE classroom wish list.

Using Program Goals to Create a Classroom Wish List

The next way to get ideas for items to put on your classroom wish list is by looking at your program goals.

When I first started teaching, the district that I was in had us write one-year, three-year, and five-year program goals. We wrote them with other teachers in our district.

Ask yourself: what do you want your program to look like in a year? What courses do you want to be teaching? What will that mean for supplies and equipment? Will you need more classroom sets of something? Do you need more equipment? Storage?

Need help figuring out where you want your program to look like? Use the Recruiting Roadmap to help you set goals and achieve them. The workbook walks you through setting goals and then working backward to create milestones.

You may also want to check out Episode 8: How to Utilize SMART Goals to Increase Enrollment and Episode 9: The Biggest Mistake Every Goal-Setter Makes.

Once you’ve looked at your program a year from now, you can keep going and set goals for three and five years. You will probably update them, but having something written down will help guide you in the right direction.

Once you’ve taken a look at the inventory of your current equipment, brainstormed ways to enhance current projects, and set program goals, you should have a pretty good classroom wish list.

Pass this episode along to anyone who asks about how to spend some extra money for their CTE classroom. They could use some tips on creating a classroom wish list.

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