11 MDUSD teachers receive classroom grants from retired colleagues

11 MDUSD teachers receive classroom grants from retired colleagues

PLEASANT HILL, Calif. (Dec. 22, 2021) — The California Retired Teachers Association Division 52 – Diablo Vista awarded $150 grants to 11 Mt. Diablo Unified School District teachers to use in their classrooms. The grants were awarded based on clearly stated educational goals for projects that would enhance student learning.

CalRTA Diablo Vista has awarded teacher grants annually and this year 16 teachers from the county were recipients. Teachers who wanted to be considered had to submit an application along with a one-page summary of the project the grant would help fund. The criteria for winning projects included defined educational goals, creativity and enthusiasm for the project.

Ninety applications were submitted last month, which coincided with Retired Teachers Week (Nov. 7-13). Projects that were awarded grants ranged from funding for power tools for a women’s engineering club to math and reading manipulatives to art and music supplies to books that are culturally and ethnically diverse to books for students with special needs. Teachers  awarded grants were from elementary, middle and high schools.

Difficult choice

“It is so difficult to choose the projects among all the applicants every year and we wish we could grant them all,” said Lorraine Osborne, vice president of CalRTA Diablo Vista. “Some of the requests are so simple, like a white board or printer toner, and others are relevant to the community the teachers serve. We have a nine-person committee that makes the selections, and our favorite day of the year is reading through the applications.”

CalRTA supports and honors dedicated public school teachers knowing that their job will shape the future of our world. Their motto is, “Teachers Never Stop Caring.” The Diablo Vista chapter has 900 members in central and east Contra Costa County, with the state having 40,000 members.

Diablo Vista has also awarded up to $100,000 in scholarships to community college students in the past.

For more information, visit calrta.org.

MDUSD teachers receiving grants are:

  • Joseph Alvarico (Ygnacio Valley High) – Power tools for women’s engineering club
  • Sheli Cryderman (Cambridge Elementary) – Brightly colored bowties for Latino music groups
  •  Margaret Frise (Sun Terrace Elementary) – Math and reading manipulatives, art materials
  • Amber Isherwood (Valley View Middle) – SDC hands-on materials to teach abstract concepts
  • Michael Maharry (Delta View Elementary) – Cal classroom program to teach mindfulness
  • Julie Miller (Sequoia Middle) – Yoga mats to help with social emotional needs
  • Aileen Nichols (Delta View Elementary) – Culturally diverse books and art supplies
  • Kimberly Ovadia (El Dorado Middle) – Hot water urn, bluetooth speaker to foster 8th and 6th grade interactions
  • Pratibha Sharma (Mountain View Elementary) – Wedge seat cushions for special needs preschoolers
  • Aerille Spusta (Gregory Gardens Elementary) – Magnetic tiles for K students to design their own homes
  • Azeema Yahya (Concord High) – Novels appealing to diverse students for independent reading
Jay Bedecarré
Jay Bedecarré
Sports and Schools Editor at The Concord Clayton Pioneer | sports@pioneerpublishers.com | Website

Jay Bedecarré is a long-time resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his newspaper writing career while still a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and he has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals, presenting events around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bay Area KidFest annually in Downtown Concord.