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TeacherLists is a 5-minute Online Tool for Easier School Supply Shopping

Ashley Zlatopolsky, Special to the Detroit Free Press, Published Aug. 21, 2017

More Michigan schools are using an online tool to help parents navigate back-to-school shopping.

Instead of spending hours combing through store aisles looking for specific items to fill a child’s school supply list, parents can utilize TeacherLists, an online platform that links a digitized school supply list with prefilled shopping carts at retail giants like Amazon, Target, Walmart and

This year, 567 Michigan schools are using the platform.

"Our school district started using several years ago as a way to centralize the school supply lists and wish lists for all our classrooms from preschool through 12th grade," says Sarah Ross-Koves, who teachers psychology and AP English literature at Carson City-Crystal High School north of Lansing.

"With one link, we can share to parents through e-mail and social media. Our back-to-school welcome letters don't usually get mailed out to parents until the middle of August when many of the back-to-school sales have already passed. With TeacherLists the updates happen before school gets out, so parents have access as soon as they are ready."

With lists from more than 50,000 schools around the country — that’s about a million individual classroom lists, with roughly 22 families per classroom — TeacherLists is a fast, five-minute alternative to what often tends to be a tedious and stressful shopping experience for parents.

“School supply lists are getting more and more specific,” says TeacherLists vice president of product and client services Dyanne Griffin. “Parents have to go to two or three stores to find the exact items.”

Most lists have 14-20 items, she says, and some ask for precise things like a blue pocket folder with three holes, a red pocket folder with two prongs: “It’s not always easy to find every single item in one stop.”

The lists are uploaded by schools, parents and retailers onto TeacherLists, then are digitized into a mobile-friendly platform that allows parents to pull up lists on their phone while shopping.

It also gives parents an option to click a link that takes them to a prefilled shopping cart via one of TeacherLists’ four retail partners that is ready to go with all the supplies they need.

To stay economical, parents have an option to edit lists where they can delete or swap out supplies. Having four retailers to choose from, Griffin says, gives parents better selection to find the most affordable supplies for their child.

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