Current Council President Deborah Setliff shares news about the Tennessee Reading Association's projects, which include scholarships, grants, a new website, and their annual conference in December.
1. Are you especially proud of any of your council’s projects?
Although we are facing repercussions (as is everyone) from our national financial situation our state board strongly believes in continuing our focus on membership scholarships, grants, and award opportunities. Some of these opportunities include the following:
- TRA State Conference Scholarship
- Academic Scholarship
- Community Service Project Grants
- Reading Improvement Grants
- Support Storytelling Grants
- Celebrate Literacy
- Newspaper in Education
- Recognition of outstanding literacy professionals
- Honor Councils
Another project we are proud of this year is the publication of a new website www.tnreads.org for our state council. This is helping with the issue of communication between councils and state officers as well as members and nonmembers. The site provides past journal and newsletter issues, information and registration access to our yearly conference, committee information and forms, and application forms needed for applying for the numerous scholarships and grants we offer each year.
The last project that I am extremely proud of and that I started at last year’s conference was increasing the involvement of preservice and inservice students in the organization by offering them free membership and conference fees by volunteering their time working at the conference as Student Ambassadors. Last year we had thirteen students, this year we have twenty five students who are becoming involved in the organization by volunteering their time.
2. What are the benefits of joining your council?
Benefits include the aforementioned grants, scholarships, and awards. Members also receive three online newsletters each year providing them information on local and state issues and usually a professional literacy article or tidbit as well. In the past members received two issues of our peer-reviewed professional journal, Tennessee Reading Teacher. This year members will receive one hard copy journal. Our yearly conference fees are also reduced for our members. The conference co-chairs, Kathy Brashears and Jana Crosby and their spectacular team of volunteers have been busy for the past eight months planning and setting up an excellent conference agenda. The Conference title says it all: Literacy…Pass it On!
3. Are there any future projects in store for your council?
Our board is beginning to see the value of student involvement and will be discussing at our December board meeting implementing a separate student membership fee. Several local councils are already cutting their own local membership fee allowing students to join their local councils. I have also challenged the local Presidents this year to mentor at least one new teacher by offering them waived membership fees and providing them physical support during their first year or two as a novice classroom teacher. As you all remember, that is an especially trying time for every new teacher and I feel that should be a part of our involvement in the schools. By mentoring new teachers we are helping facilitate their transition into becoming literacy professionals.
4. How does one join your council?
Each of our fourteen active local councils have a membership director who is available to send application forms or answer questions. Although new members can join any of the local councils most want to join a council that is close to their home or school. Jill Barnett, state membership director can guide newcomers to their choice of active councils. Eventually our goal is to have this information on our website so that new members or renewing members can be in control of this process.
5. Is there a website, newsletter, or another way to find out more information about your council? Is there a person that prospective members can contact?
The new TRA website www.tnreads.org is the perfect resource for finding out information about the state and local councils. Past journals and newsletters are available as well. Prospective members can contact Jill Barnett, TRA Membership Director at email@example.com or myself Deborah Setliff, 2011-2012 TRA President at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo caption of installation of 2011-2012 Board: Back row from left to right: Melissa Brock, Immediate Past President; Deborah Setliff, President; Randy Kincaid, State Coordinator; Kathy Brashers, President-Elect;Lou Ann Walker, Treasurer; Elinor Ross, District Coordinator; Vickie Manus, District Coordinator; betty Denton, District Coordinator;Kay Watts, District Coordinator; Front Row from left to right: Jana Crosby; Conference Co-chair; Jill Barnett, Membership Director; Imagene Reagan, Immediate Past Membership Director; Angel Viera, Vice President. Not shown: Nancy Carter, Corresponding Secretary; Anita Armstrong, Recording Secretary; and Sandra Hitt-Smith, Treasurer Elect.
Featured Council: West Virginia Reading Association