On Aug. 11, the Missouri Retired Teachers Foundation (MRTF) presented three $500 Classroom Grant awards to Debra Marsh, Kayla Loyd and Jennifer Ring of the El Dorado Springs R-II School District, at the all staff back-to-school workshop. The $500 awards were presented by the local Sac-Osage Retired Teachers Unit representative Sherry Wiseman and MRTA Region 6 Vice-President Arleta Godwin.

The $500 awards will provide funds for the three teachers to support their instructional areas. Debra Marsh will use her $500 Grant to expand her Shakespeare and Greek Mythology instructional units. Kayla Loyd, a second time Grant winner, will utilize her $500 to provide additional materials for reading and math hands-on learning activities. Jennifer Ring will use her $500 to purchase a variety of math manipulatives for Fraction Fridays. Two of the three Grants were funded for a second year by a special donation by Mrs. Linda Thompson. The Grant monies, to MRTA, were designated to honor and provide a memorial gift for her late husband, Allen Wade Thompson, who taught in the El Dorado Springs School District for 26 years. The Thompsons had lived in El Dorado Springs for many years while Mr. Thompson taught, and he was later a builder of many homes in the area. Mrs. Thompson stated she wanted to give back to the community that they both loved so much.    

The MRTF, organized in 2001, is a tax exempt 501 (c)(3) charitable corporation devoted to raising funds to carry out certain charitable, educational, scientific and literary purposes of the Missouri Retired Teachers Association and Public School Personnel (MRTA). As such, donations to the Foundation are tax deductible. MRTA, organized in 1960, is an association of over 26,000 education retirees where members strive to uphold and improve the value, integrity and mission of our public schools so that all school personnel may live healthy, vital lives and be secure economically, socially and professionally in retirement.

This year statewide, there were 461 applications submitted for the 2017-18 Classroom Grants, with 84 Grants awarded in the state’s 14 Regions. Region 6 includes the nine-county area of Bates, Benton, Cedar, Dallas, Henry, Hickory, Polk, St. Clair and Vernon counties. The Grant Applications are available in April of each year, due by June 30, and winners are to be awarded their $500 checks by Sept. 15. The Grant Applications were to include detailed information in five sections: Title and Description – Purpose of the Project – Evidence of Need – Planning – and Proposed Budget Explanation. The 84 Grant recipients are asked to provide a brief one-page summary by April of 2018.

Since its inception, the MRT Foundation has awarded 56 scholarships totaling $56,000 to teachers enrolled in education programs; and 351 classroom grants totaling over $175,500. Public school retirees make these grant awards possible by giving back donations to MRTF, as well as, participating in fundraisers such as the Silent Auction held at the state meeting. Other donors provide monetary gifts for this same purpose. Teachers welcome this assistance for many purposes: For example, to purchase books, iPads, reading and math aides, “Baby-Think-It-Over” kits, science project kits and many, many others. As funding to schools continues to be cut, the demand for financial assistance for classroom supplies and classroom projects continues to increase.

These MRTF Grants are open to any active teacher. All teachers are encouraged to complete an application and apply for the $500 award. Applicants and recipients may apply repeatedly year after year. The next MRTF grant process will begin in the spring of 2018. For further information, go to the MRTF website at www.mortf.org.

TEACHERS WIN AWARDS – Individuals at the $500 Grant Award presentation for El-Dorado Teachers include (left to right, Back Row:  David Rotert – High School Principal,  Tracy Lanser – Elementary Principal , Mark Koca – Superintendent – Sherry Wiseman, local Sac-Osage Retired Teachers Unit President, Arleta Godwin – MRTA Region 6 Vice-President ;  Front Row:  Debra Marsh -Classroom Grant Recipient, Kayla Loyd – second time Classroom Grant Recipient , Tracy Barger – Assistant Elementary Principal  and Jennifer Ring – Classroom Grant Recipient. Unable to attend the Grant presentation was Linda Thompson who donated special funds for two of the Grants to honor her husband who was a former El Dorado Springs Teacher.