A Jefferson City Public Schools teacher from Pioneer Trail Elementary School was surprised Wednesday afternoon with $500 to support her classroom's literacy activities.
Ashley Angle received the $500 grant from the Missouri Retired Teachers Association.
Angle is in her sixth year of teaching at Pioneer Trail, 18th year in total of teaching and 13th year of teaching kindergarten.
She said the money "will be used to purchase literacy activities to be used during our guided reading block of our school day. The items will be used daily to reinforce and allow structured practice of skills essential to becoming a fluent reader."
"By not having to create all of the activities, I can use my time to develop scoring guides and written response components that the students can use to track and record their learning," she said.
The school district's long-term goal is to have all of its students reading at or above their grade level. JCPS Superintendent Larry Linthacum told all teachers and staff at the beginning of the school year that 55 percent of the district's students read at or above their grade level.
Sue Snell — a retired JCPS teacher from Holts Summit who was part of the group of retirees who presented the grant to Angle on Wednesday — said the proposal applicants wrote had to answer how they would measure success, as well as what the money would be used for.
About 24 applications were submitted in the local Region 7 of the Missouri Retired Teachers Association for the award, Snell said.
There are 14 MRTA regions across the state, and each gives out seven $500 grants, Region 7 Vice President Georgia White said.
The local region covers Camden, Cole, Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, Osage, Phelps and Pulaski counties. The organization's co-president for Cole County, Brenda Wilson, said Angle was the only teacher from Jefferson City who received an award.
"It means so much to have a group of educators that are the only other group of people that truly understands and fully grasps the depth and breadth of our jobs. They were once in my shoes and they know the day-to-day challenges and celebrations like none other," Angle said.
Angle was recognized last school year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars' local Basinger/Sone Memorial Post 1003 in the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year Award contest.
Applications for Missouri Retired Teachers Foundation grants such as the one Angle received are available at mortf.com/grants/apply-for-grant/.