Glenshire Elementary School and the origin of ‘green bags’ |

Glenshire Elementary School and the origin of ‘green bags’

The green bags program at Glenshire El started years ago, thanks to principal Kathleen Gauthier.
Courtesy photo |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — If you have a child or grandchild who has gone through the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District within the past decade or two, you’ve no doubt shuttled homework and “good fit” reading books back and forth to school via their “green bag.”

The green bags were the brainchild of Glenshire Elementary principal Kathleen Gauthier. Years ago when Gauthier was a kindergarten teacher, she submitted a grant proposal to the Excellence in Education Foundation to purchase green bags for her students.

The program was so successful, it soon went district-wide and is now a key part of helping young elementary students get in the habit of bringing homework and their nightly reading books from school to home and back.

“As a primary grade teacher, I appreciated the impact parents could have on their emergent reader if they developed the habit of nightly reading. I also knew that to be most effective, parents needed good fit books to help their child’s reading development,” remembers Gauthier. “I am most proud that since 1997 children have been bringing home books at their reading level to sit on the knee or cozy in bed with a loving adult and accomplish so much. As a kindergarten teacher, I knew my parents helped their children learn and love to read in ways I could not.”

Over the years, Gauthier has been a huge supporter of the Excellence in Education Foundation and has helped her teachers write many more successful grant applications that have funded numerous programs, materials, and curriculum for the students at Glenshire Elementary.

Just this year, in fact, Glenshire Elementary was awarded a total of $4,372 in funding to purchase gross motor play and developmental materials for the school’s kindergarten and transitional kindergarten students, new calculators for students in kindergarten through third grade, Time for Kids magazine subscriptions for fifth-graders, software licensing for 20 computers to be used for advanced projects in critical thinking, geometry and logic, and funds to provide learning materials for a new kindergarten class.

“Our goal at Excellence in Education is to fill in those gaps where a teacher or an administrator sees a need to enhance a classroom experience and where another funding source is not available. We like to think of our grants as ‘icing on the cake’,” says Foundation Executive Director Laura Brown.

“Every year during the grant writing process, one of the highlights for me is the school Site Council meeting where teachers come with their brilliant, creative ideas of what more they could do for kids with just a little additional funding. Looking over the grants written over the year is so inspiring,” adds Gauthier.

Aside from the green bags that were funded years ago, some other “icing on the cake” projects that have been funded at Glenshire Elementary include programmable robots, family math games, CD players to help with reading and literacy, Lego construction kits, a program that teaches students about the United States Constitution, and many books, math manipulatives, science supplies and more.

“Mrs. Gauthier is retiring from Glenshire Elementary at the end of this school year. We are so thankful that she has been such a big supporter of the Foundation over the years, and we know that the teachers and the new principal will continue to work with the Foundation so we can continue our support of the students at Glenshire,” says Brown.

The funds available to award grants are generated through the Excellence in Education fundraising programs. Those programs include Skiing for Schools, Dining for Schools, Golfing for Schools and “Friends of Education” donations the Foundation.

Shelly Purdy is an Excellence in Education board member. Visit to learn more.

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