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College Football To Honor North Texas Teachers Before Championship

Jason Janik
Quintanilla Middle School teacher Thom Browne

The College Football Championship in Arlington next week will also include a bit of philanthropy. The group started a program called Extra Yard for Teachers, to boost education in the cities where the playoffs are hosted. Two teachers from Dallas will have a big role.

The College Football Playoff’s charity is inviting 800 teachers to a conferencein Dallas, a few days before the championship. It’s billed as a celebration of teaching, with talks and performances from a wide variety of educational leaders. On the roster is Katey Batey.

'In An Incredible Profession'

"I just want them to leave the summit knowing that they are in an incredible profession,” Batey said. She's in her second year of teaching, currently at Connor Elementary in the Dallas Independent School District. She teaches fourth grade writing and science.

“It’s tough as a teacher sometimes, and you just want to the throw in the towel," Batey said.

She thinks the philanthropic focus of the College Football Playoffs is on target. 

“I think it’s important to be putting education back on the radar,” she said.

Batey will speak for six minutes, along with an opera singer, a founding donor of Uplift Charter Schools, the CEO of DonorsChoose helped the College Football Playoffs give money to schools in Dallas, Los Angeles and New Orleans -- the three playoff cities.

Credit Jason Janik
Katey Batey with her students at Connor Elementary School in Lakewood.

Two Teachers, By Popular Demand

Batey and Thom Brown won speaking slots at the summit through a video contest. Browne is also a teacher in Dallas. He teaches reading to eighth graders at Quintanilla Middle School in Oak Cliff.

“I’ve been watching these TED talks for years, and I know that educators pass them around. I think it’s really cool that they’re doing something in that vein, but all for teachers,” Browne said. 

He will perform an original poem during his six minutes in front of the crowd. He hopes to give his fellow teachers the shot in the arm they’ll need to get through the winter, and the prep for standardized tests that’s coming.

“We’re heading into crunch time in Texas schools, and I really think that having this many teachers in one room together will remind us why we’ve chosen the career we’ve chosen, why we work for kids every day,” he said.

Browne has never performed for an audience this size. But he says eighth graders are the best preparation. 

“I get up in front of a room of unwilling audience members all day every day, so I think I’m ready," Browne said.

The teacher summit is Saturday afternoon, two days before the championship game. Then, while all of higher education is focused on football, elementary and middle school teachers in North Texas can start thinking lesson plans for the STAAR tests.