Educator donates to KSU's Teacher Resource & Activity Center

 KSU’s Teacher Resource and Activity Center, located in the Bagwell College of Education…

Georgia (Sep 20, 2010)

 KSU’s Teacher Resource and Activity Center, located in the Bagwell College of Education, will have hundreds more children’s books, puppets and other resource materials thanks to an educator who devoted her life to teaching kindergarten.  Arleen Taffel taught elementary school for 40 years and recently died after a long fight with ovarian cancer.  She was 61.
But Arleen Taffel’s legacy will continue at TRAC. Her family donated the materials she used to teach young kids about the weather, good manners and every holiday. There are also several copies of her favorite book, “Kindergarten Rocks,” by Katie Davis. “That was her motto,” said Marty Taffel, her husband of 36 years. “She used silly songs, puppets and dances to make learning fun.”
Many of KSU’s student teachers worked with Taffel at Marietta’s Mount Bethel Elementary School. Those students who want to follow in her footsteps are using TRAC to find the resources they need for class projects and student teaching assignments. Located on the second floor of the Bagwell College, the center has a library, workroom, and computer center.
TRAC is open to KSU students, faculty, staff and local educators to use free of charge. There is a nominal fee for materials. “We have parents who home school their children, pre-school teachers, church teachers and educators from North Atlanta area visit TRAC,” said Diana Poore, center’s director for the past 20 years. Each year more than 40,000 people visit the resource center.
The library offers more than 10,000 books, 1,500 DVDs and 500 activity kits and games. There is an extensive collection of education journals, peer-reviewed periodicals and teacher textbooks for every subject and grade level.  “TRAC started with just enough to fill three tiny bookcases,” Poore said. “My office was so small I could only fit a student desk and the bookcases. Now it’s grown to more than 4,000 square feet.”
The center’s production workroom contains equipment educators can use to create projects and decorate bulletin boards in their classrooms. There are book binders, laminators, paper cutters, button makers and a full-color poster printer.
In TRAC’s activity section, students and educators find microscopes, an erupting volcano and a small skeleton. Doug Bell, assistant professor of early childhood education, takes his students to the center several times a week. He uses giant-sized teeth to demonstrate how student-teachers can teach first graders how to brush their teeth. “There are so many valuable resources in here,” he said. “Many of the tools they need to help children learn are right here.” 
Other universities have created similar centers. “My dream is for TRAC to be the model for teacher centers across the country,” Poore said. “Educators can find everything they need in one place.” 
In addition to the donation to TRAC, the Taffel family is establishing an endowed scholarship in her memory for students pursuing teaching degrees at KSU’s Bagwell College. “This is exactly what she would have wanted,” Marty Taffel said. “She loved working with young teachers. Arleen would invite them to our house over the summer so they could prepare for the school year.”
To find all the materials she used in her classrooms, Arleen Taffel visited The School Box several times a week.  The president of the teacher’s supplies store facilitated the Taffel’s donation to KSU. The School Box also contributed $500 worth of educational kits to TRAC.
TRAC Hours:
Monday – Thursday                  8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday                                     8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday                                 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sunday                                   Closed


Teacher Resource & Activity Center


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