As part of our mission, NEF recognizes the significance of reading skills to students’ overall academic achievement. In the spring of 2005, NEF assumed responsibility for the operations formerly run by Support Our Schools (SOS), with the goal of having a single comprehensive organization to support public education in Northampton. Under the merger, NEF has established the “SOS Book Fund,” which is designated for classroom texts, library texts, instructional materials, and their digital equivalents.
The principal sources of the fund are an annual appeal to Northampton residents and an annual Plant and Garden Market, held in May. Funds are distributed annually on a per-capita basis per school, after each school has submitted spending plans and the NEF Board has approved them.
Applications for the 2020-2021 academic year are available now. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING GUIDELINES BEFORE YOU FILL OUT THE APPLICATION (link is located at bottom of page)
Some Guidelines for Applicants:
- Please make every attempt to submit all requests/requisitions for all the SOS Book Fund dollars apportioned to your school at one time. The 2020-2021 funds will be released at the October School Committee meeting, and schools that did not place orders in the spring may combine the new funds with last year’s allotment and make one single request. (The challenges of the pandemic prompted NEF to deviate from our normal process of redistributing leftover funds for this year.)
- Schools may submit orders to this website using the link below. Orders submitted by October 19 will be voted on during our October 20 meeting. Orders submitted after that time will be considered on a monthly basis.
- Although traditionally NEF has tried to engage in discussions with the School Councils about the Book Fund, the pandemic has made Council elections and meetings difficult. Faculty and staff at each school should choose what system works best for them to discuss how funds should be used. If funds are shared among teachers, it may be helpful to appoint one person to keep track of all requests before submitting the online request form. If you have any questions or need help with the process, please reach out to Amy Levine.
- On the application, provide information on why the order is important to the student’s learning experience. This explanation does not have to be long, but it does need to tell NEF some relevant details. If the application contains multiple orders, help us understand the overall goals of each order (not each text).
- Teachers should get written quotes from companies. The quotes should include shipping and be good for 60 – 90 days. (You can get ballpark quotes while you are planning how to spend your funds.) Teachers should use the “School Dept.” name, so they get the school discount. You will be uploading these quotes and including them with your online request form.
- Include a completed School Department Purchase Requisition (can be accessed on employee forms website).
- Please make every attempt to order locally. Broadside Bookshop, High Five Books, and Pioneer Valley Books can accommodate many of our requests, and other independent bookshops may be able to as well. Even the Hadley Barnes & Noble employs locals, so please do make an attempt to shop locally.
- We encourage schools to submit orders by the late fall or early winter, so that teachers may have the resources they need for their current students. If schools do not put in orders by then, July 1 will be the cut-off date for requests, with the last purchase order issued on Aug. 1. (That will allow a month for delivery and payment.) If an allocation is not used by that time, but that money will get reapportioned according to the per pupil formula NEF uses to distribute funds.
- The minimum order is $300.
For more information about the SOS Book Fund, please contact Amy Levine of the NEF Board.