Retired Teachers Give Classroom Grants

County Teachers Receive Classroom Grants from Retired Colleagues
Posted on 12/17/2021
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The California Retired Teachers Association (CalRTA) Division 52 – Diablo Vista awarded $150 grants to 16 teachers from school districts in Contra Costa County 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. 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 in November, which coincided with Retired Teachers Week (November 7-13). Projects that were supported 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 that were awarded grants were from elementary, middle and high schools.

“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.

  • Joseph Alvarico (Mt. Diablo Unified/Ygnacio Valley High) - Power tools for women’s engineering club
  • Patricia Calderon-Cuevas (Antioch Unified/Jack London Elementary) – Bob Books for K-2 SDC students with autism
  • Louise Colbert (Byron Union/Excelsior Middle) – Printing and binding for student written novels
  • Sheli Cryderman (Mt. Diablo Unified/Cambridge Elementary) – Brightly colored bowties for Latino music groups
  • Heather Dimaggio (Brentwood Unified/Loma Vista Elementary) – Owl pellets, cow eyes and squid for science
  • Margaret Frise (Mt. Diablo Unified/Sun Terrace Elementary) – Math and reading manipulatives, art materials
  • Amber Isherwood (Mt. Diablo Unified/Valley View Middle) – SDC hands-on materials to teach abstract concepts
  • Michael Maharry (Mt. Diablo Unified/Delta View Elementary) – Cal classroom program to teach mindfulness
  • Julie Miller (Mt. Diablo Unified/Sequoia Middle) – Yoga mats to help with social emotional needs
  • Aileen Nichols (Mt. Diablo Unified/Delta View Elementary) – Culturally diverse books and art supplies
  • Kimberly Ovadia (Mt. Diablo Unified/El Dorado Middle) – Hot water urn, bluetooth speaker to foster 8th and 6th grade interactions
  • Suzi Redman (Brentwood Unified/Brentwood Elementary) – Books with stories of heritage and diverse characters
  • Pratibha Sharma (Mt. Diablo Unified/Mountain View Elementary) – Wedge seat cushions for special needs preschoolers
  • Annie Souter (Lafayette SD/Stanley Middle) – Headphones for chrome books to support history learning
  • Aerille Spusta (Mt. Diablo Unified/Gregory Gardens Elementary) – Magnetic tiles for K students to design their own homes
  • Aseema Yahya (Mt. Diablo Unified/Concord High) – Novels appealing to diverse students for independent reading
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