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09 Nov 2020
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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.

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02 Nov 2020
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November is Foundation Month!

Many members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) are familiar with our charitable partner, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF). TRTF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides resources for retired TRS annuitants as well as active and beginning teachers. Since 2008, TRTF has distributed more than $588,000 to educators of the past, present, and future all across Texas!

TRTF manages several charitable programs: “A Helping Hand,” the Disaster Relief Fund, Classroom Assistance Grants, and Beginning Teacher Scholarships. Additionally, TRTF supports the Lehr-Pritchard Endowment Fund to provide long-term revenue for “A Helping Hand,” and recently launched its latest endeavor—the TRTF Tutor Program—to reach every Texas child through reduced cost tutoring services.

How the Pandemic Has Changed Foundation Month

During previous Foundation Months, TRTF has recorded videos featuring program recipients sharing how the aid they received has impacted their lives and the lives of Texas school children. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, recipients were not able to meet with TRTF in person; but many still have very valuable, earnest stories to tell.

Many of our classroom teachers are overwhelmed with teaching hybrid onsite and online courses and with increased class sizes. Many are balancing this new work dynamic with being parents themselves. Some are first-year teachers and are entering the profession with high hopes, but limited resources.

Retirees who were able to substitute in schools for extra income have been out of work since the spring when schools were shut down and struggle to make ends meet. Some have contracted the virus and now face unexpected medical bills. Many just want to get back to helping their local schools and communities.

And though many of today’s students are technologically savvy, some struggle with virtual learning environments and need additional support outside of the classroom. Finding an affordable, reliable tutoring service is a necessity, but is hard to come by.

Education is vital. Every person who has a role to fill in our school system is significant. The pandemic has made TRTF’s goal to help educators of the past, present and future more important than ever!
TRTF knows that students, parents, schools, communities, and retired educators all have been adversely impacted COVID-19. We know that this situation is not yet over; but we believe we have a part to play in making it better.  

There are more than 6 million students in our public schools and more than 800,000 education professionals working in 1,100-plus school districts across Texas. There are more than 400,000 TRS retirees, and 30 percent of them make less than $1,000 per month. They are ALL under pressure to do more than ever, and they are doing so in the most difficult conditions.

Please Help

It is time to give big so that we may help our children, schools, teachers, and retirees. TRTF is determined to help. As a 501(c)(3), we are in a unique position to raise donations and deploy them through our unique charitable programs.

Please consider making your tax-deductible charitable contribution to TRTF today. 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.

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).

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).

“A Helping Hand”

  • TRTF will provide $27,000 in grants to retirees in critical need through the “A Helping Hand” program in 2021.

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, including providing urgent COVID-19 relief grants.

TRTF Tutor Program:

  • TRTF has an ambitious goal to donate 250,000 hours of tutoring to Texas schools. To make this happen, we must raise $10 million. We also have an ambitious timeline to raise the necessary funding in 30 days!

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28 Oct 2020
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Sign Up to Be a Tutor with the TRTF Tutor Program!

As you may have heard, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) is launching a new program! Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) Executive Director Tim Lee shared the great news about a program we believe will return hope to our school children and their parents, active educators, and retired teachers!

TRTF is excited to announce the TRTF Tutor Program powered by Knack, an online service that will match retired Texas public-school teachers with students and their families, as well as school districts that need tutoring services and educational support.

This wonderful new program provides TRTA members with an avenue to give back to their communities, while also allowing them to earn extra income. In addition, the TRTF Tutor Program provides the critical help many of our students and practicing educators need to navigate the challenges of virtual learning.

We believe the greatest teachers are those in our public-school classrooms as well as those who served in our schools throughout their career: that means you, retired teachers! Students will receive not only excellent educational support but will engage on a multi-generational level that improves interpersonal skills when they receive tutoring services from a Texas retired teacher.

TRTF has an ambitious goal of signing up 1,000 tutors by November 16! We know our dedicated TRTA members can surpass this goal and make the TRTF Tutor Program the greatest tutoring service available!

Sign Up Today!

Are you interested in becoming a TRTF tutor through Knack? We recommend reviewing the Knack Tutor User’s Guide to see what’s needed for signing up and to assist you through the registration process. We also recommend viewing the “Tutor Experience” how-to video, which will demonstrate the registration process in real time. After reviewing the guide and video, you may click here to register.

Thank You

Thank you for your continued support of Texas education and love for Texas students. We are excited to share this game-changing program with you. We strongly believe that our members, friends, and supporters will embrace this program with open arms and servant hearts.

This announcement comes right as TRTF approaches its annual fundraising period in November, Foundation Month. Not interested in becoming a tutor, but want to donate to help make this program successful? Please visit www.trtf.org/tutorfund to donate today!

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