MINUTES-Nov. 14th MEETING     

       The Parke-Vermillion Retired Teachers' Association met at noon, Monday, November 14, at the McDonald Lake Rod and Gun Club in Clinton. President Sandee Frey welcomed our members and our speaker Kim Terry, as well as a new retiree, Brenda Shannon, who retired from North Vermillion schools. Before starting the meeting, Frey asked Cheryl Huey, our Indiana Retired Teachers' Association Foundation liaison, to discuss the proposed IRTA license plate. Members were asked to sign a petition to the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles if they were in favor of the new plate. A Turkey Run Elementary 4th grade class sent thank you notes for the Indiana pencils they received during the Bicentennial Torch Relay; there were also booklets and bingo sheets about the state available for them. After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, Larry Carlson gave the invocation. David and PVRTA member Tomi John catered our delicious meal.

            Frey thanked them for the meal and then introduced our speaker Kim Terry.  She is the Science Department Chair at South Vermillion High School and teaches Anatomy & Physiology, AP Honors Biology, Robotics, and Zoology. Using a power point presentation, she showed pictures of the new classrooms in her wing of the school.  The classrooms have more space, abundant storage, lab tables and easier access to the greenhouse. Terry discussed her workshop at the Library of Congress on using the primary source material there.  She also described the field trips with students to Hawaii; students studied Marine Biology with snorkeling in the ocean, field trips to the volcano, and learning about Hawaiian culture. She has also taken students to the Purdue Bridge Bust.  Students are given 36 balsa wood sticks to build a bridge. The bridges must demonstrate aesthetics, reliability and efficiency.  Her two students earned second place with their bridge. Terry participated in a summer class as well as a week in Dallas studying Robotics.  They received 10 bobots at the end of the week.  These are used to teach about electricity, building and programming the bobots, and problem solving.  She recently received a grant for thirty robots. They will be used in the three elementary schools; high school students in the Robotics classes will teach the elementary students. 

            OLD BUSINESS: The minutes form the last meeting were approved after a motion by Karen Carlson and a second by Sue Woodard. Roleen Pickard gave the treasurer's report. K. Carlson discussed the membership directory; over 100 members will receive it online. The rest of the members will receive a hard copy. We now have 149 local members with many who are also members of the IRTA. Those who aren't members were encouraged to join the state organization. Frey thanked Carlson for her exceptional job as the membership chairman. Members were reminded to read the minutes on our website; Mike Hardesty posts information and pictures on the IRTA website. The website is www.retiredteachers.org, then click on Connect You with Former Colleagues, & New Friends, then click Area 4, then click on #7 (Parke) or # 10 (vermillion). Frey said that our oldest member, Edith Vignocchi, who is 101 years old, is in a nursing home. Our group collected money to buy her some clothes.  She appreciates visits or cards; her address is the Vermillion Convalescent Center, 1705 S. Main Street, Clinton, IN, 47842.


            Jean Ann Craycraft and Sue Weber discussed the Bicentennial Celebrations in Parke and Vermillion Counties. Several members worked with the Friends of the Rockville Library group at their booth on the courthouse lawn; the PVRTA banner was hung on their tent.  Rockville 4th graders and their teachers came by the booth to receive their Indiana state pencils; Craycraft took pencils to Rosedale and Montezuma students. In Vermillion County, the 4th graders were given pencils as well.  North Vermillion had a picture display of the celebration.

            NEW BUSINESS: Area 4 director Ken Pierce was honored by our RTA to thank him for his service. He was recently re-elected for two more years. He works with the local RTA chapters in 10 counties, visiting as many locals as possible every year. Pierce discussed the fact that no pro-public education candidates were elected this year, although the new governor's mother is a retired teacher and the new Lt. Governor has worked on PERF.  The Teacher retirement fund has a COLA built into the budget every year, but our Indiana legislature has to pass a bill to fund it.  A representative from Fort Wayne has said that he will author another bill for a COLA or 13th check. However, this legislator wants to change our fund to a Defined Contribution only, rather than a Defined Benefit. Current teachers would have to choose how much, or any, money they want to put into their retirement fund. Pierce asked us to encourage retired teachers to join the IRTA; there are so many good benefits for members, as well as webinars available about retirement benefits, scams and other topics on their website. 

            The IRTA also offers active Teacher grants to fund projects for their classroom.  Frey is on the review committee of the applicants.  This year, there were thirty applicants, with two local teachers earning grants.  Hands Up one-time grants of up to $1000.00 are available for IRTA members who have financial problems; the application in on the website.  College students in the Department of Education can apply for a one-time $2000.00 scholarship.  They must be a relative of a regular or associate member of the IRTA to qualify. Pierce announced that the State IRTA president Dennis Bourquein is now home after spending a very long time at the Mayo Clinic; he is now in remission.

            Pierce discussed ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council; it was conceived in the 1990s to change school curriculums according to their ideas. It is a very powerful group that has a large number of local, state and national legislators as members. They write education legislation; it is used as a boiler plate for state and federal bills.  They are especially interested in influencing bills on education and pension funds.

            Patty Spurr, our Community Service committee member, told us how important it is for all members to turn in our volunteer numbers to her. We need to differentiate the hours as those for youth, or any other group. She sends our hours to the IRTA and they are used to show the legislature how much the state retired teachers do as volunteers. Each volunteer hour has a value of $23.56; for the past several years, members have logged over one million volunteer hours. The IRTA gives community service awards at the Representative Assembly in June every year. You must be an IRTA number to receive an award.

 IRTA Area 4 Director and PVRTA member Ken Pierce  
Patti Spurr, Community Service chair; Jan Palmatier, Nominations and Caller; Gayle Overbey, Caller; Tersea Adams, email & caller

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