But when Rachelle Keller stepped into her classroom at the Colgan Center Thursday morning, she saw the "Merry Christmas" sign right away.
On a desk, right in the center of the classroom, was an array of school supplies: dictionaries, calculators, jump ropes, board games, among other things.
"We don't have new dictionaries," Keller said. "I don't remember when new dictionaries were purchased for us. And the same with the calculators. We only have one in the class, and the kids get tired of sharing. With the new math curriculum, sometimes the calculators are very important."
The Colgan Center is an alternative school for at risk students, many of which cannot provide school supplies for themselves.
And sometimes basic needs like calculators or even fasteners to hold things on the wall are hard to come by.
Every teacher received a Christmas surprise, thanks to Coleman and Eugene Field Elementary Schools.
Counselor Dee Ann Kelley set the whole thing up, and explains the teachers' emotional reactions to this surprise:
"They think we are the forgotten school," Kelley said. "So for them to know that someone hasn't forgotten us, or hasn't forgotten our kids, they're just overwhelmed."
Fighting tears, Rachelle Keller says this small gesture will make a big impact on her students.
"We have an at risk population, you know? A lot of them thrive in the one on one setting. So it's important to them to know that people care about them and they are good enough to get new things as well."
Kelley has worked as a counselor at Colgan for two years now.
She says she is doing what she can to improve things at a school she genuinely enjoys working.
"Almost everybody that works in this building wants to be here, because we do love these kids," Kelley said. "We want them to succeed. And if that means getting them supplies to make their day better, and the teachers' job easier to reach out to them, then that's what we're going to do."