PASR awards grants to JCSD teachers

MIFFLINTOWN – The Juniata County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees recently presented grants to two local teachers to enhance educational opportunities in their classrooms.

Tonya Tabb, teacher at Juniata High School, received about $240 to purchase 25 copies of a non-fictional book, “A Child Called It.” According to a press release from PASR, the book tells the story of a child who suffers abuse during his childhood. Tabb said she has been teaching the topic of child abuse in her early childhood development class for two years, but she used borrowed books from the family and consumer science teacher at East Juniata High School.

“I saw this grant as a great opportunity to fund this project,” she said.

The book will be used to introduce ninth to 12th grade students about the prevention, identification and reporting of child abuse.

“Now that I have been able to buy my own books, it will be easier because we will not have to pass books back and forth or rearrange schedules to be sure the books are available for the other’s use,” Tabb said.

The books will remain in the classroom for future use, she said, calling it a gift that will benefit many students over the next several years.

Susan Wagner, fifth grade teacher at Fermanagh-Mifflintown Elementary School, received $150 to fund a project she calls MAP TO SUCCESS. She said the project provides her students with forms of differentiated instruction that cater to many different learning styles.

“I might have 24 kids in my room and have three or four different skills being taught, practiced and mastered at the same time,” she said.

During math classes, Wagner’s students file their work in binders under the four categories on which they’re tested by annual PSSA exams: numbers and operations; algebraic concepts; geometry; and measurement and data. With this system, she said, students can reflect upon prior lessons. Wagner instructs students to keep a journal to recall different teaching techniques used in class and document the techniques that most impacted their learning.

Wagner said the ultimate goal for MAP TO SUCCESS is to learn which forms of differentiated instruction worked best for each style of learner and share that information with students’ future educators. The binders will be sent to middle school with each student next year.

“Basically I am trying to teach (students) that they must work to succeed, stay organized and understand that we as individuals have strengths and weaknesses,” Wagner said. “To overcome weaknesses, you need to be dedicated and work hard.”

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees online at