How It Started !
The Purpose of the Foundation
- Provide support and opportunities for teachers
- Education professionals and education support professionals.
- Deepen understanding and support teaching and learning.
- Enhance teacher professionalism.
- Provide opportunities for professional conversations.
The UTD Teaching Excellence Foundation Story
In 2008, then UTD President Karen Aronowitz suggested to the Executive Board that she would like to create a 501(C)3 Foundation so that teachers could write grants that couldn't be applied for under UTD's 501(C)5. In 2009, her vision came to fruition with that founding of the UTD Teaching Excellence Foundation, Inc., which was approved by the IRS as a charitable and educational corporation. President Aronowitz became the Founding President of the 501(C)3. The Foundation was now able to apply for a wide range of grant funding, engage in fundraising activities to provide additional resources, and partner with other charitable entities, community organizations, institutions of higher education and parent groups. The purpose of the Foundation centered around support and opportunities for teachers and educational support representatives, deepen understanding, support teaching and learning, enhance teacher professionalism and provide opportunities for professional conversations and innovations. As a first step, the Foundation, through UTD, negotiated with the district to open its' first ever Professional Resource Center (PRC) in a portable on the campus of Miami Southridge Sr. High School. The Grand Opening of the PRC brought special guests AFT President Randi Weingarten and School Board member Larry Feldman, as well as Principal David Moore. The PRC welcomed union members to discuss educational issues over a cup of coffee and held a multitude of professional development opportunities and meetings. It continues to do so today. The Foundation Board also began to apply for grants, and received a more than $25,000 grant from the National Conference on Public Employees Retirement Systems (NCPERS) to fund two new computer labs at Miami Southridge Sr. in 2011. The NCPERS is the largest trade association for public sector pension funds, representing more than 500 funds throughout the US and Canada. On September 22, 2011, a check was presented at a pep rally at the high school to the students and teachers at the school! The computer labs are mostly complete (2013) and serve all of the students and parents at the school. The Foundation also received a National Education Association grant in 2012 that was written by two teachers, to support the UTD SPARKS Program. SPARKS is a weekend retreat for early career teachers and educational support personnel to provide them with union support as they begin their careers. This grant will support the 6th Annual SPARKS Retreat.