Blog

03 Nov 2015
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TRTF Classroom Assistance Grants Enabling Educators’ Successes

As each class ends, Teresa Carroll has her students form a line. She gives each child a hug, wishes them well and sends them on their way.

Carroll doesn’t get to see her students as often as she would like or for as long as she would like, but she makes the best of her circumstances by exuding energy in each facet of her teaching.

Carroll is a math interventionist at Williams Elementary, a Title I school in Georgetown. She has held her current position for seven years, and those years of experience have allowed her to master her craft. She helps poverty stricken students grasp the fundamental math concepts necessary to be successful in life.

Carroll receives the students who are struggling the most with math, and uses her 45-minute class three times a week to improve the students’ perceptions about math and about themselves.

“There’s a quote outside my door that I talk about every year with my kids, and it says something like, ‘Good mathematics is not about how many answers you know, but it’s about how you act when you don’t know,’” said Carroll.

Many of Carroll’s students already have started to give up on themselves when they first come to her classroom. Carroll describes their psyche as, “‘Oh I can’t do it, so why am I going to try?’”

To combat these negative feelings, Carroll brings the best out in her students by engaging them in fun, easy-to-use games and avoids doling out spreadsheets.

“I’ve had to teach them that it’s okay to fail and that failure is just a learning tool that we’re going to use to improve and get better,” Carroll said.

According to the Texas Tribune, 69 percent of students at Williams Elementary are considered economically disadvantaged.

Carroll recently received help with her classroom materials through a $500 classroom assistance grant from the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF). Carroll used the grant to purchase materials for a program called Do The Math. With the program’s kit, she received six student packets, a teaching packet, a multimedia CD and teaching literature.

Carroll has found the Do The Math fractions kit to be exceptionally worthwhile.

“I have seen them grow tremendously in their conceptual understanding of fractions,” Carroll said. “They gain a much deeper understanding of the concept that I am teaching them.”

Among the successes that Carroll has discovered, she has seen her students stop counting on their fingers and more quickly compute answers in their heads.

“It is extremely rewarding when the light bulb comes on and to see when they suddenly get it,” Carroll said.

Carroll feels that the classroom assistance grant was a boon to her teaching, and she feels a deep appreciation for TRTF’s charitable works.

“If you have the capability and the ability to donate to the Foundation, it is an amazing gift that you can give to somebody,” Carroll said. “It changes lives.”

TRTF delivered 15 $500 classroom assistance grants in 2015, and the organization hopes to match that amount next year, too. You can submit a donation online here or call 1.800.880.1650 to donate over the phone. Members of TRTA also received a donation card and envelope in their third quarter issue of The VOICE, which they can use to submit donations by mail.

Help celebrate TRTF’s Foundation Month by donating to one or more of its four charitable programs: “A Helping Hand,” Classroom Assistance Grants, Student Scholarships, and the Legacy Campaign.

Thank You

Thank you for all that you do to support the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation and the many teachers, students and retirees whose lives are changed every day by your generosity! Since 2008, TRTF has given more than $200,000 to educators of the past, present and future. You can donate to TRTF here or visit www.trtf.org to learn more.

Be sure to stay tuned to our other digital mediums to keep informed on all the latest news and updates. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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29 Oct 2015
0

TRTA Members Push Congress to Act on Medicare B Premium Hike

Phone calls from Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) members have pushed Congress towards a Medicare Part B compromise. As we reported two weeks ago, Medicare Part B premiums are set to increase next year for retirees whose premiums are not automatically deducted from their Social Security benefit payments.

The originally proposed premium increase would affect approximately 30 percent of Medicare Part B recipients, including retired educators who are impacted by the Government Pension Offset (GPO) or the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) but who do not receive enough Social Security income to have their Medicare Part B premiums automatically deducted.

Also included in the proposed premium increase are retirees who receive no Social Security income due to GPO and WEP, those who will be enrolling in Medicare Part B next year for the first time and those who have higher incomes and are charged higher premiums. The other 70 percent of Social Security recipients with Medicare Part B are held harmless from this premium hike because there is no increase projected for Social Security this year.

TRTA members rallied together on this issue, arguing that the premium increase was unfair and required immediate congressional intervention.

Congress’s proposed compromise includes reducing the premium increase to 17 percent. The original premium increase would have been 52 percent. In terms of dollars, most retirees affected by this increase would pay $120 per month for Medicare Part B (with an additional $3 per month “surcharge”) instead of the proposed $159.30 per month.

This budget deal passed the House and is off to the Senate for consideration.

TRTA still contends that no Medicare B premium increase should impact one group of retirees over another, and we are still working with our members of the Texas congressional delegation to see if more can be done to reduce the impact of this proposed increase. For now, TRTA members can feel assured that their voice is being heard, and that TRTA is working diligently to help you with this important matter.

Thank you for your tireless support and ongoing effort to get results. TRTA believes that our members are the most dedicated, organized, and active advocates in Texas and in Washington, D.C.! Please let your friends and fellow TRS retirees know that TRTA is getting results, and that we will continue to make a difference if we all rally together and stay involved in our great organization.

We will keep you posted on this important matter as it progresses through the Congressional process.

Thank You

Protecting your health care benefits is one of TRTA’s top priorities, and your participation makes all of difference! Be sure to stay tuned to our other digital mediums to stay informed on all the latest news and updates. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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28 Oct 2015
0

Planting the Seeds: TRTF Classroom Assistance Grants in Action

Randy Mayer has spent 15 years teaching; but in his three years with Hays ISD, he’s found an uncommon amount of support for his non-traditional methods.

Mayer teaches students with special needs at an alternative school in Buda, Texas. He is a master gardener who has been craving the opportunity to educate students through the medium of horticulture.

Thanks to the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF), his wish is finally starting to come true. TRTF provided Mayer a $500 classroom assistance grant in March. The grant has allowed Mayer to start a botanical greenhouse, wherein he teaches his students with multiple disabilities practical life principles.

“It’s really cool to see the passion in their eyes,” said Mayer, “and the passion would have never even been explored if we didn’t have the greenhouse.”

Hays ISD matched TRTF’s grant, so Mayer was given $1,000 to build his greenhouse. Mayer used the money to purchase ultra-violet sheeting, shovels, gloves and wheelbarrows. Mayer said he doesn’t want a lot of “bells and whistles.” He is focused on providing an education the students can take home.

“What we will do is keep everything organic and everything simplified, so that these students can take what they’ve learned here and duplicate it in their own backyard,” Mayer said.

Once the plants have come to fruition, Mayer sends them home with his students. Mayer’s program focuses on vegetables such as tomatoes, squash and beans.

“They see it from a seed package to their own dinner table,” Mayer said. “Delayed gratification happens over four to five months when you’re gardening, and it teaches so many different skills.”

Mayer already is starting to see results, as one of his senior students was able to complete the program and is on his way to graduating high school.

“I can’t thank the Foundation enough,” said Mayer. “To see the passion in these kids is all it would take for anybody to donate to your organization.”

TRTF delivered 15 $500 classroom assistance grants in 2015, and the organization hopes to match that amount next year, too. You can submit a donation online here or call 1.800.880.1650 to donate over the phone. Members of TRTA also received a donation card and envelope in their third quarter issue of The VOICE, which can be used to submit donations by mail.

Help celebrate TRTF’s Foundation Month by donating to its four charitable programs: Classroom Assistance Grants, Student Scholarships, “A Helping Hand,” and the Legacy Campaign.

Thank You

Thank you for all that you do to support the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation and the many teachers, students, and retirees whose lives are changed every day by your generosity! Since 2008, TRTF has given over $200,000 to educators of the past, present and future. You can donate to TRTF here or visit www.trtf.org to learn more.

Be sure to stay tuned to our other digital mediums to keep informed on all the latest news and updates. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Read More