MRTF 2022

MRTF awards $1,000 in grants to Poplar Bluff educators
Posted on 09/13/2022
Linda Surber, Mark Cook, Missy Cox and Hilary Taylor.

Poplar Bluff Schools is bringing back food canning and board games, with assistance from the Missouri Retired Teachers Foundation.

Hilary Taylor, who teaches a game design elective at Junior High, and High School family and consumer science instructor Missy Cox were each awarded $500 grants last month reportedly among 126 statewide out of 439 applications submitted.

Cox wrote in her grant proposal that there has been an unprecedented amount of food waste in the United States since the pandemic – totaling 108 billion pounds of food per year, accounting for approximately 40 percent of the country’s food supply, according to Feeding America.

“Take into account food waste, along with food supply issues still taking place two years later, food preservation education needs to be a priority,” Cox stated. “By beginning this education in high school, students will become more aware of the impact they can have on our food supply and learn to become better consumers.”

Advanced foods students will be taught the preservation methods of pickling, water bath canning, freezing and dehydrating during the fruits and vegetable unit next month. With the money, Cox will purchase vacuum sealers, a food mill, jars, blanching baskets, jelly strainers, a cheesecloth, a canning set, sure gel and ascorbic acid.

Meanwhile Taylor’s students will design, develop and test their own board or card games, including writing an instruction manual that clearly and simply expresses the steps including winning parameters and scoring so the games can be played successfully from start to finish. The final product will be presented for a class vote to determine which game is the most playable.

“Due to the overwhelming exposure to digital media and video games, many students today do not have much exposure to traditional board games and card games," Taylor wrote. "Often the only exposure they have are to low strategy board games designed for younger children, and the only exposure to card games are often in the same category of simplicity or in the genre of casino games."

The grant will be used toward the purchase of the games Aggravation, Blokus, Chinese Checkers, Mancala, Mastermind, Nertz, Sequence and Yahtzee, plus accessories such as Bingo chips, game tokens and pawns, and blank dice. Students will be taught the various game mechanics and scoring criteria this semester before being introduced to the steps in the design process.

Since 2017, Poplar Bluff Schools has been awarded a total of 11 MRTF grants, four of which were successfully written by Taylor. The proceeds are raised by retired teachers through a raffle and silent auction at the annual delegates assembly, which takes place this month, according to Linda Surber, Butler County unit president.

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Cutline: (From left) Butler County unit president Linda Surber, and Missouri Retired Teachers Association Region 12 vice president Mark Cook present R-I district teacher of the year Missy Cox and middle school grade-span teacher of the year Hilary Taylor with checks during the annual back-to-school Convocation held recently at PBHS.

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