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ATPE’s Extreme Classroom Makeover gives new educators a hand up

For the fifth straight year, ATPE’s Extreme Classroom Makeover promotion has helped new educators stock their first classrooms. Three 2009-10 teacher-trainee members who renewed as first-time professional members in 2010-11 received $500 for classroom supplies. This year’s recipients are:

Lauren Thompson, Hays CISD

Alma mater: Texas State University
What she teaches: Kindergarten
What she bought: Rugs and floor cushions, manipulatives, organization bins, games and center activities
Fun fact: Thompson received her classroom and teaching assignment only two days before the start of school.

Janae Frezza, Birdville ISD

Alma mater: Texas State University
What she teaches: Fourth-grade language arts, social studies and reading
What she bought: Books, pillows, a rug, a clock and a lamp
What surprises Frezza most about teaching: “Feeling like you never get caught up.”

Leigh Darilek, Magnolia ISD

Alma mater: Texas A&M University; also attended Lone Star College–Tomball
What she teaches: Currently substituting; holds ESL, social studies/language arts 4–8 and EC–8 generalist certificates
Her plans for the $500: Saving for her future classroom once she has a full-time teaching position
Fun fact: Darilek was the president of Lone Star College–Tomball ATPE and a member of the local unit the year it chartered.

Looking to buy or sell a home?

ATPE members can save money and take the stress and hassle out of the moving experience by using the PrimeBenefit program. Earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars each time you buy or sell a home. Save on mortgages, real estate commissions, home warranties, moving services and more! Log in to the Services and Discounts page at for more information.

Save on auto insurance

Members of ATPE could receive a discount on car insurance from Nationwide®, a company that has helped many of its customers save on their auto policies. Take advantage of this special “members-only” discount on your auto coverage with Nationwide. Get a no-obligation quote today by calling the Fowler Agency at (888) 549-4922.

March 14: A very important date

Don’t be late for the application deadline for the following ATPE awards, all of which will be presented during the ATPE Summit July 20–23:

Ben Shilcutt Plus Club

This awards program recognizes ATPE’s top recruiters. Those who recruit five or more new members are honored and receive a special gift; those who recruit 10 or more are also entered in a drawing for $1,000.

Educator of the Year Awards
Top educators are recognized in five categories: Administrator, Associate, Elementary Teacher, Secondary Teacher and Special Services Educator. Recipients receive $1,000 each.
Local Unit of the Year
Exceptional local units are honored in four categories: 1–500 members, 501–1,000 members, 1,001-plus members and university. Each winning local unit receives a check for $500. (Login required)
Campus Representative of the Year
Dedicated volunteers are recognized in three categories: 1–500 members, 501–1,000 members and 1,001-plus members. Each winner receives $500, and their local units each receive $250 for future activities. (Login required)
Sam Houston Award for Political Involvement
One member is honored for overall excellence in the growth and development of individual grassroots political involvement. The winner is presented with a special gift and a stipend (up to $500) to attend ATPE’s Lobby Day or another political involvement event.

Relax and save this spring break with ATPE

A spring break vacation is within reach, thanks to the many travel discounts available to ATPE members. For more information on these and the other services and discounts that ATPE is proud to offer members, please log in to the Services and Discounts page at

Auto rental: Members receive discounts on rental cars through Avis®, Alamo®, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental.

Hotels: Members save on stays at Comfort Inn®, Comfort Suites®, Quality®, Sleep Inn®, Clarion®, MainStay Suites®, Econo Lodge®, Rodeway Inn®, Suburban Extended Stay®, La Quinta Inns and Suites, Baymont Inns and Suites®, Days Inn®, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham®, Howard Johnson®, Knights Inn®, Microtel Inns and Suites®, Ramada®, Super 8®, Travelodge®, Wingate® by Wyndham and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts®.

Theme parks: Members can purchase discount tickets to Sea World Orlando, Sea World San Antonio, Sea World San Diego, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Adventure Island, Aquatica, Water Country USA and Sesame Place through the Worlds of Discovery Parks online ticket order program. Members can also purchase discount tickets to all three Schlitterbahn Waterparks through Schlitterbahn’s online ticket program.

Climb PAC’s Peak: Help ATPE-PAC raise $10,000 before May 1

Have you heard of the PAC’s Peak Challenge? The ATPE Political Action Committee (ATPE-PAC) has set a goal to raise at least $10,000 by May 1. This fundraising drive is designed to help ATPE-PAC collect funds that in prior years had been collected during the ATPE state convention.

If you make a donation during the challenge, your individual contribution will count toward your yearly and cumulative totals for William B. Travis and Stephen F. Austin honors, as well as your local unit’s and region’s yearly totals for the Davy Crockett Fundraising Challenge. (The current ATPE-PAC award season runs from May 2, 2010–May 1, 2011.)

By helping climb PAC’s Peak, you’ll also be helping your local unit earn recognition at the ATPE Summit. The more money members of your local unit donate, the higher your local unit’s name will appear on a special display at the event. This is a team effort. Your contributions are essential to the ATPE-PAC program and will allow ATPE-PAC to continue to make financial contributions to officeholders and candidates who share ATPE’s philosophies and values.

Make a one-time online contribution using a debit or credit card or set up monthly or quarterly ATPE-PAC donations at If you’d rather send a check, please mail your donation, along with your name and address, to ATPE-PAC, 305 E. Huntland Drive, Ste. 300, Austin, Texas 78752.

Keep up with the progress we’re making toward climbing PAC’s Peak at

Inaugural technology grants awarded

The first recipients of the new ATPE Foundation Technology Grant have been announced. They are:

Naveen Cunha, a sixth-grade science teacher at Bryan ISD’s Stephen F. Austin Middle School.

Keri Hampton, principal of Tyler ISD’s Bell Elementary School.

The grant amount is $2,500, and applications for 2011-12 grants will be available in July. Learn more about the program at

Bryan ISD teacher Naveen Cunha accepts his grant check from ATPE Executive Director Doug Rogers. Cunha is purchasing robotics equipment for use in the middle school engineering elective course he is developing.

Tyler ISD principal Keri Hampton accepts her grant from ATPE Past State President Jerry Bonham. Hampton is pairing her grant with campus funds to purchase 20 iPod Touches. Teachers on her K–5 campus will be able to check out the devices for student use.

Help students succeed: Donate to the ATPE Foundation

Established in 2000, the ATPE Foundation is dedicated to the advancement of public education through literacy initiatives, technology programs, and educator recruitment and retention efforts. Supporting the ATPE Foundation is easy: You can make tax-deductible donations to the ATPE Foundation online using your Visa® or MasterCard, or you can print a donation form at and mail it in with your cash or check. Donations of any size are appreciated and can be given in honor or in memory of family members, friends or colleagues.

Scholarship deadline: June 1

The ATPE Foundation has two scholarship programs, and the 2011 application deadline for each is June 1.

The Fred Wiesner Educational Excellence Scholarship honors one of ATPE’s founding members. Four $1,500 scholarships are awarded to outstanding college students currently enrolled in educator prepara- tion programs. If the number and quality of applicants allow, three scholarships are awarded to undergraduates and one scholarship to a graduate student.

The Barbara Jordan Memorial Scholarship was established to honor the late Texas congresswoman and distinguished educator. Up to six $1,500 scholarships are awarded each year to outstanding junior, senior and graduate students enrolled in educator preparation programs at predominantly ethnic-minority institutions.

Find applications and more information, including the list of institutions where students qualify for Barbara Jordan scholarships, at

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In the Classroom
Para-educators' Place
Tech Support
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