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UNT Honors Secondary Fine Arts with Conference USA Gift


During the typical staff development day, teachers are accustomed to learning innovative ideas and receiving plans to guide them the rest of the year. This year, some Denton ISD teachers received a little extra boost to benefit those ideas and plans.


Secondary arts and theater teachers in the Denton ISD Fine Arts Department, learned they are the recipients of this year’s “Extra Yard for Teachers” program sponsored by Conference USA and the University of North Texas. The athletic conference, in which the UNT Mean Green compete, provides each of its 14 members with $10,000 worth of Michaels gift cards to give to local teachers in each of the universities’ geographic area.


The UNT Athletic office will host the teachers at the Saturday, Oct. 28 football game when the Mean Green take on the Old Dominion Monarchs which kicks off at 5:30 p.m.


Denton ISD teachers will join student-athletes and cheerleaders from UNT for a shopping spree at the Michaels at Denton Crossing later this fall. Purchases made during the events will impact the learning of approximately 15,000 secondary students.


“To see the university that I attended give back to us after I graduated, really means a lot,” said Martha Slack from Denton High. “It shows that they’re invested in us, in our students and in the arts.”


This is the second consecutive year the UNT Athletic Department has honored Denton ISD art teachers. Last season, all elementary school art teachers received $400 per campus to purchase supplies for their classrooms.


“Our teachers are extremely resourceful, often reusing materials to make them stretch, so anytime you can walk into a store like Michaels and purchase new materials with money given to you by the local university that wants to support fine arts in our schools and community – that’s an amazing thing,” said Jackie deMontmollin, director of fine arts programs.


Teachers will be able to fill their carts with yarn, feathers, clay cutting tools and other items that don’t appear on the typical student school supply list. The store will honor all discounts and coupons to make their gift cards stretch further.


 “I’m so excited,” said Erica Cole, art teacher at Crownover Middle. “We make sock puppets with our sixth graders, so getting tons of googly eyes, felt and fuzz balls to make them will be incredible. It’s their favorite lesson, so it’ll be fun to see what they come up with.”


To view images from this event, please click here.