Springfield Education Association Committee of Retirees, 2017

Each year at the Retired Members Gathering, an educator or group is recognized with the “Honor Our Own” award for outstanding service. The Springfield Education Association’s Committee of Retirees was awarded this year’s honor in recognition of its successful Tools 4 Teaching program. Here are remarks by SEA President Tim Collins, who nominated the committee for the award.

Several years ago a small group of Springfield retired teachers wanted to continue to be involved in their union, the Springfield Education Association. These educators were highly successful in their own careers as elementary, middle and high school teachers and they wanted to help ensure the same for new and existing teachers within the SEA.

The formed the SEA Committee of Retirees and started their work by organizing and assisting at a fall social consisting of raffles, door prizes, music and food for all SEA members and their families. This went over so well that they added a spring picnic for all members and families. Both events are held yearly and are well attended.

This energetic group of retired teachers wanted to do something to help the teachers in the Springfield Public Schools, especially the new teachers, with school supplies and materials. After a few years of using the conference room at the SEA office twice a year, they contacted the City of Springfield looking for a place to house their store. The city was very generous, a contract was signed, and Tools 4 Teaching Recycling (T4T) Store was born four years ago. They have just signed another three-year contract with the city.

The mission of the T4T Recycling Store is to provide SPS teachers, especially new teachers, with educational materials for their classrooms at no cost.

The T4T store is a nonprofit organization that receives educational materials through many varied sources. Donations are received from local businesses and retiring teachers. This keeps quality and usable school materials out of landfills and puts them into Springfield Public School classrooms. They have even received materials from teachers in the central and eastern parts of the state. Two Massachusetts Teachers Association grants allowed them to purchase brand new materials requested by new teachers for their classrooms.

The committee reaches out to Springfield teachers in several ways. They post flyers in every SPS school, maintain an ad in the SEA monthly newsletter and organize and assist at SEA social functions. And of course, communicate on their Facebook page!

The T4T store is open two Thursday afternoons each month and offers a variety of materials such as books, manipulatives, arts and crafts and much more for all grade levels, preK-12. The store is maintained and staffed by this dedicated group of retirees.

The T4T store and the social events that these hardworking, dedicated retirees manage promote unity among teachers and the community. This demonstrates to the public that we can all come together for the benefit of students — our future leaders.

Springfield Public School teachers have come to know that there is a group of strong, industrious, committed retirees who are dedicated to helping them become successful in their teaching careers.