The Excellence in Education Grants for Teachers Program Awards $36,500 in Grant Money

The Illinois Retired Teachers Association Foundation (IRTAF) awards $36,500 in grant money to several public school educators (Pre-K through 12) statewide.  IRTAF is affiliated with the Illinois Retired Teachers Association, a lobbying group for retired educators, with a current membership of over 38,500.  On September 30, 2019, Jennifer Connolly was awarded his/her IRTAF grant check.  Below, you will find more information on the winner, along with his/her school, the amount of the award, IRTA Area, and a summarized paragraph of the project in the winner’s own words.

Jennifer ConnollyGranite City Senior High SchoolGranite City ($727.00) Area 6
I am hoping to conduct book clubs with future classes using engaging and relevant young adult titles.  Just like Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher in their recent professional development book, 180 Days, I've found kids get excited about reading stories in which they can both see themselves and find new perspectives.  The books I've selected are high interest and will be of use for many years to come.

The IRTA Foundation designed this program based on the idea that educators often do not have additional revenue sources available for unique student projects or classroom materials.  This program allotted a total of $36,500 to Illinois public school educators for these purposes. 


Applicants were required to meet the proper criteria and to submit their proposals by early June.  The IRTAF Board of Directors selected the grant recipients and awards are being presented now.  The Illinois Principals Association played a vital role in assisting IRTAF with the promotion of this program.

For more information, please contact

Tricia Klim, Member Services Coordinator of IRTA, at (800) 728-4782 or go to

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