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19 Nov
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TRTA In-Person Meeting Cancellation Extended through March 31, 2021, Day at the Capitol to Be Held Virtually

The Texas Retired Teachers Association’s (TRTA) Board of Directors voted unanimously on Tuesday, November 17 to extend the previously imposed hold on all TRTA-affiliated in-person meetings across the state through March 31, 2021. This includes all local unit meetings, as well as smaller in-person gatherings such as district or local unit executive committee meetings.

Additionally, the decision has been made to re-schedule TRTA’s hotel contract with the Austin Hilton from 2021 to 2023. This means the TRTA Day at the Capitol scheduled for April 7, 2021 will not be held in person and instead will be a virtual event. Please note, if your district or local unit has reserved transportation or hotel rooms for Day at the Capitol 2021, these should now be cancelled.

These decisions were made with the overarching concern of the health and safety of all members of TRTA. With the rising number of cases of coronavirus in Texas and vaccines still pending, the board decided the potential negative outcome of in-person meetings that may inadvertently result in a health crisis for any TRTA member is too great.

Many TRTA districts and local units have continued to meet virtually when possible with great success, some using Zoom videoconferencing services or conference calls. If your local unit would like to learn more about Zoom, please visit this newly created TRTA webpage or contact Roy Varney at roy@trta.org.

In addition to canceling all local and district in-person meetings through March 31, 2021, TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee and TRTA state officers will not be traveling for any in-person meetings. However, if you would like Tim Lee or a state officer to visit your local unit virtually this winter, please contact Shelby Click at shelby@trta.org.

TRTA knows not all units are able to meet virtually, and we encourage our members to remain safe and consider making phone calls, sending text messages, or emailing or mailing newsletters or holiday cards to their members to check in on them.

While you are staying home and staying safe, please consider calling up your retired friends and colleagues and asking them to join TRTA. We are still within reach of our goal of 100,000 members!

Are these difficult times? Yes. Are retirees up for the challenge? Absolutely! We must enter the next session prepared. We must prepare now by rallying the troops! This is the time when nearly 70 years of advocacy and perseverance really pays off.

Thank You and Keep Checking Your Email!

The TRTA Board of Directors thanks you for your continued support and your membership. The board and the staff are thinking of you and wishing you all well this holiday season. We know that Zoom and other virtual services cannot take the place of face-to-face contact, and hope that we can resume meetings again sooner rather than later.

TRTA will provide updates soon about our exciting plans for all members to participate in Day at the Capitol 2021 from home and in the always vital legislative process as we head into the 87th Legislative Session that begins in January. Watch for frequent email updates from Tim Lee and don’t forget to phone your friends and ask them to join TRTA today!

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16 Nov
0

TRTF Assists Retirees Through “A Helping Hand”

Thank you members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) for joining us during Foundation Month: a time to honor the charitable work done by our partner organization, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF). Donate to TRTF today!

Today, we focus on two of TRTF’s most vital programs: “A Helping Hand” for Texas public school education retirees and TRS members experiencing critical emergencies, and the Disaster Relief Program for educators facing urgent needs as a result of a widespread disaster. With your support, TRTF continues to expand its programs to help more educators of the past, present, and future!

2020 has been a unique year, with new challenges and innovative responses to difficult circumstances. TRTF’s journey this year has been no different: we are trying new ways to meet the needs of the education community, including the launch of our newest endeavor, the TRTF Tutor Program.

While the Tutor Program will be beneficial to thousands of our Texas students and retired teacher tutors, not all retirees are able to participate in this service or will still need help to afford urgent necessities.

In the face of uncertainty, many retired educators still need help with utilities, groceries, medical bills, and prescriptions. As each person experiences the COVID-19 outbreak on a different scale, TRTF hears from retirees who need assistance with hospital bills. Some retirees who used to supplement their income through substitute teaching are simply not able to work right now.

Please consider making a special gift today to help retirees throughout the COVID-19 crisis by donating here.

We are working diligently to keep accepting applications for assistance. The staff is currently processing four applications for “A Helping Hand,” including those for retirees who have hospital bills due to COVID-19. Most “A Helping Hand” applicants need $1,000 or more in assistance just to get back on their feet.

In 2020, TRTF has helped 10 retirees with medical bills, five with utility bills, two with dental work, two with home repairs caused by flooding, as well as three retirees who needed either car repairs, plumbing repairs, or to replace broken appliances.

As a non-profit, TRTF depends on donation revenue to keep our programs functioning. We cannot continue this important work without your support. Your investment will make a difference. Even $5 goes a long way. Thank you for being a friend to the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation.

TRTF is currently accepting applications for assistance. We are asking all applicants to submit their requests and paperwork electronically. Please send all requests to help@trtf.org.

“A Helping Hand”

  • TRTF will provide at least $27,000 in grants to retirees in critical need through the “A Helping Hand” program in 2021.
  • In April 2020, TRTF raised over $54,000 to assist Texas public school personnel affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and distributed 26 grants in aid.
  • Aid provided- $204,800 (since 2010) to 199 recipients.

Disaster Relief:

  • TRTF will be prepared should another disaster strike and be ready to aid retired and active educators in need at a moment’s notice.
  • Total aid distributed since 2017: $162,609.94
  • Program recipients:
    • Active educators assisted: 209
    • Retired educators assisted: 292

Please Donate Today

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, TRTF’s programs have become more important than ever. Our school children, teachers, and retirees need our help! As a 501(c)(3), we are in a unique position to raise donations and deploy them through our unique charitable programs. We are determined to help!

Please consider making your tax-deductible charitable contribution to TRTF today as part of our annual fundraising drive. You may donate online here or call 1.800.880.1650 and ask for Sarah.

Please stay tuned to the Inside Line throughout the month of November as we update you on TRTF’s programs and share stories from individual program recipients.

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09 Nov
0

TRTF Grant and Scholarship Recipients Share Their Stories

Thank you members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) for joining us during Foundation Month: a time to honor the charitable work done by our partner organization, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF).

Today, we focus on two of TRTF’s longstanding programs: Classroom Assistance Grants for Texas public school teachers and Beginning Teacher Scholarships for educators entering the field for the very first time. With your support, TRTF continues to expand its programs to help more educators of the past, present, and future!

Classroom Assistance Grants:

  • TRTF will provide 40 $500 Classroom Assistance Grants to public school teachers in Texas in 2021. (This is an increase from the 30 grants awarded in 2020).
  • Since 2008, TRTF has awarded more than $108,000 in grants for public school teachers to 216 recipients.

Beginning Teacher Scholarships:

  • TRTF will provide 25 $750 Beginning Teacher Scholarships to recent college graduates who will be teaching for the first time in the fall of 2021. (This is an increase from the 20 scholarships awarded in 2020).
  • TRTF has awarded more than $108,000 in scholarship funds since 2008.

The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) awarded 30 $500 grants to public-school teachers in the spring of 2020 as part of their Classroom Assistance Grant program and 20 $750 Beginning Teacher Scholarships to recent college graduates who began their bright careers this fall.

Since TRTF trustees were not able to deliver any grants or scholarships in person this year, we asked this year’s recipients to provide us with a photo and brief statement about their projects or classroom needs that are being funded by TRTF, thanks to the generosity of donors and supporters like you!

Below is winner Heidi Blancarte, who is a K-5 music teacher at Memorial Elementary in New Braunfels. “My students and I will use this grant to supplement melodic instruments for collaborative student use. Students will use these instruments to promote music literacy, improvise and compose their own music. At a time like this, healthy self-expression is so important for our students’ mental health and engagement in learning. Thank you so much to TRTF!”

Below is winner Mario Ponciano, who works for East Terrell Hills Elementary in San Antonio. “I would like to begin by thanking TRTF. As a special education teacher, I am tasked with presenting instruction to students with various learning styles. The one item that I successfully introduced to them recently was interactive robots. Students were able to manipulate them for use with all content areas. The success factor came in the form of retention of information with high frequency. It is for that reason that the grant was used to purchase interactive Sphero devices that allow students to manipulate them in their pursuit of knowledge. I introduced my personal Star Wars based devices and saw priceless smiles across the board. Creating excitement about learning is my goal. TRTF has just made a dream come true!”

TRTF Beginning Teacher Scholarship recipient Candance Kubecka received her degree in Education and teaching certification from The University of Houston – Victoria. She is related to TRTA member Dorris Andel from Edna, Texas. Currently, Kubecka teaches at Patti Welder Magnet Middle School in Victoria. She used her TRTF scholarship funds to purchase a classroom printer, sensory items, and a mobile cart that allows her remote students to stay more connected with her and the in-person classroom while learning from home. She also purchased staplers, hole punches, colored pencils, scissors, and glue sticks for her students, and still has funds remaining, which she plans to use at a later date as needs arise. Candace provided TRTF with a cell phone video of her classroom that you may watch below.

Below is TRTF Beginning Teacher Scholarship recipient Bailey Pruett. She is the granddaughter of TRTA member/TRTF Trustee Brenda Ritter. She sent us the photo below with this caption: “Jumping for JOY!! Today I officially graduated (from college) and I could not be any more excited! Thank you to my family, fiance and friends for all your love and support over the years!” Bailey was hired by Katy ISD.

Bailee Burkett, another scholarship recipient, is related to TRTA member Velva Hock, who appears in the photo below with her. Bailee says, “Thank you so much for awarding me a scholarship. It has been a huge blessing for me as I begin my teaching journey. I am going to be using the funds to help jumpstart my classroom for this coming year by purchasing classroom decorations, etc. I will be teaching 7th grade this year and am so excited!”

Applications Now Available for Download!

Applications for the 2021-2022 Beginning Teacher Scholarship program and the Classroom Assistance Grant program are available on the TRTF website at www.trtf.org for download. The deadline to submit an application is Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.

Please Donate Today

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, TRTF’s programs have become more important than ever. Our school children, teachers, and retirees need our help! As a 501(c)(3), we are in a unique position to raise donations and deploy them through our unique charitable programs. We are determined to help!

Please consider making your tax-deductible charitable contribution to TRTF today as part of our annual fundraising drive. You may donate online here or call 1.800.880.1650 and ask for Sarah.
Please stay tuned to the Inside Line throughout the month of November as we update you on TRTF’s programs and share stories from individual program recipients.

Read More