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UTD president and others dig in their own pockets to fund ideas

‘UTD President’s Grant” awarded to thirteen teachers

Ashley Montgomery | 11/21/2013, 9 a.m.
Back row [L-R]:  Casandra Holmes, Eneida  M. Hartner Elementary; Janet Skiers-Kaeiser, W.J. Bryan Elementary; Glenda Moton, Nathan B. Young Elementary; UTD President Fedrick Ingram; Bernardina Fernandez, South Miami Sr. High; Sonya rivers-Stevenson, Mae Walters Elementary; Hugo Murago, Hialeah Senior High; Grace Bloom, Alternative Outreach; Elizabeth Weaver, Hialeah Senior High; UTD First Vice President Tom Gammon. Front row [L-R]: Yolanda Dukes, F. S. Tucker Elementary; MaryAnne Karcher, Scott Lake Elementary; Janis Jordan, Orchard Villa Elementary; Victoria Jarrett, W.R. Thomas Middle; UTD Secretary/Treasurer Karla Hernandez-Mats’ Jacqueline Torres-Quinones, Gulfstream Elementary.

For the first time ever, United Teachers of Dade [UTD] reached into their own pockets to grant 13 deserving Miami-Dade County Public School [M-DCPS] teachers with funds to advance creative classroom projects. Fedrick Ingram, president, received matching voluntary contributions from First Vice President Tom Gammon; and Secretary-Treasurer Karla Hernandez-Mats which totaled $12,000. In early October, teachers submitted proposals for the grants, which were then judged for their content by three UTD officers. 

Last Thursday, Ingram, Gammon and Hernandez-Mats hosted a breakfast for the 13 winners and presented them with their checks for use in their classroom; teachers also described their classroom projects. 

“Many grant processes take forever and you can’t get what you need right away, so we wanted to give our teachers who have out-of-the-box ideas something that shows we are directly about what we say we are,” Ingram said. 

Of the 13 teachers chosen, Victoria Jarrett, language arts teacher of W. R. Thomas Middle School and Cassandra Holmes, kindergarden teacher of Eneida M. Hartner Elementary School, both shared their appreciation.

“My project is to have an in-school photo gallery of all the local historical sites in Overtown,” Jarrett said. “We will then invite the community, parents and media to come out to enjoy the gallery.” 

Holmes plans to use her grant money to set up two traveling libraries. 

“The goal is to get parents to check out books and gain as much parent involvement as possible,” she said. “We want kindergardeners to fall in love with literacy.”

Ingram says that teachers are doing a great job and Miami-Dade County needs more projects like these. 

UTD is a union of professionals who work to advance the use of public education.

According to their website, they educate students, empower their members and work with parents and the community to build a stronger Miami. 

“These teachers need support, they want to do more and we need to help them,” Ingram said. “UTD wants to show that we are willing to talk the talk and walk the walk.”