Fred Bloss and Bill Funkhouser representatives from the Illinois Retired Teachers Association Foundation (IRTAF), visited three Collinsville Community Unit School District #10 schools on September 30, 2019 to deliver checks to teachers who earned 2019 IRTAF Excellence in Education Grants.
The organization awarded a total of $36,500 in grant money to several public school educators (Pre-K through 12) statewide.
Collinsville CUSD 10 Teacher Who Received Grants:
Stephanie Vandeford, John A. Renfro Elementary, Collinsville ($600.00)
The $600 will go to new and engaging novel sets for our students to read in small groups. Giving the students tangible and meaningful pieces of text will help them apply their knowledge of the skills and strategies being taught in Reading class. Our grade level currently has a few novel sets and the students are always incredibly excited to open a new adventure!
Deborah Kokotovich, John A Renfro Elementary, Collinsville ($182.00)
The reason for my supply request is to provide students with a visual tool to learn and understand time and number sense. Also, with the clocks and calculators they can practice skills independently.
Valerie Vickery, Renfro Elementary, Collinsville ($500.00)
Through my project, I would like to expose my students to STEM activities to show them there are careers that they might not even know exist. My project seeks to acquire educational robots for students to explore the areas of coding/programming and technology. My students deserve this opportunity because these robots will excite, engage, and encourage them to become creative learners, thinkers, and innovators.
Lynn Vermeiren, Collinsville High School, Collinsville ($400.00)
I would like my students to increase their ability to perform independent living and pre-vocational tasks through the use of task boxes in the classroom. I teach a diverse group of students with multiple disabilities, and using task boxes is a great way to engage students in hands on learning. Students work on gross and fine motor skills, following directions, task completion, and so much more.
Chara Helton-Rodenhaus, Kreitner Elementary School, Collinsville ($500.00)
Students struggle with focus, stamina, problem solving, self-confidence, and even self-esteem. A chess club is a great way to help students learn and build these skills and traits within themselves. It teaches them to have patience, focus on the task at hand, self-discipline, be a team player, and the self-confidence to problem-solve. I want to start a chess club at our school to help our students develop these skills and leave Kreitner Elementary being confident, problem solving students of integrity.
The IRTA Foundation designed this program based on the idea that educators often do not have additional revenue sources available for unique student projects or classroom materials. This program allotted a total of $36,500 to Illinois public school educators for these purposes.
Applicants were required to meet the proper criteria and to submit their proposals by early June. The IRTAF Board of Directors selected the grant recipients and awards are being presented now. The Illinois Principals Association played a vital role in assisting IRTAF with the promotion of this program.
IRTAF is affiliated with the Illinois Retired Teachers Association, a lobbying group for retired educators, with a current membership of over 38,500.