La Verne Magazine
"Education in La Verne"
PTA Contributes A+ Efforts to Educational Needs, Achievements
by Jeannette Gano
photography by Summer Herndon
As a second year Parent Teacher Association president for Oak Mesa Elementary,
Debbie Powell finds the PTA organization as a chance for personal growth.
"I enjoy seeing things get done for teachers and kids." Powell
has two daughters attending Oak Mesa and hopes to remain on the PTA board
after her president term is finished this year.
What would elementary school days be without bookfairs, carnivals, assemblies,
classroom parties and candy sales? Without one essential organization, these
activities may not be possible. Without the Parent Teacher Association,
elementary school would probably be about the basics of reading, writing
The PTA is responsible for the countless activities that go on throughout
the school year. Without it, there may not be carnival dunk tanks or sack
races; there may not be assemblies with school mascots handing out special
awards to students; and there may not be the special memories these extracurricular
activities bring to young children every year.
Oak Mesa Elementary School's PTA is an outstanding association which
is made up of more than 75 mothers, teachers and the school's principal,
Throughout the year, the association is responsible for numerous events
-- including two major fund raisers, the open house to display students'
work and accomplishments, two book fairs, a carnival, the compilation of
a yearbook throughout the year and a character assembly every other month.
This group shares with the District, as well as the city of La Verne,
a huge role in the acquisition of new playground equipment for the school.
The PTA provides services such as making identification cards with a child's
fingerprint and identification bracelets for those who would like to purchase
In addition to its existing list of tasks, the association also supplies
prizes and gifts for "owl ticket" drawings to reward children
who have demonstrated good behavior. The PTA assures that books are provided
as gifts to children on their individual birthdays.
At Oak Mesa, Debbie Powell is the current PTA president. She has held
the position since last year and is a representative for the Bonita Council
Presently, the association at Oak Mesa consists of nine officers and
an executive board. Each member is assigned to a committee and must follow
through with his or her specific duties. These committees may include anything
from disaster preparedness, to health and safety, to the yearbook.
Says Milligan, "Our PTA is atypical; it is in the top 10 percent
in the state." He says he feels lucky to have responsible and conscientious
parent involvement at the school.
Oak Mesa's PTA is indeed organized and efficient, and it holds monthly
meetings in the school's multi-purpose room. Among those in attendance at
the meetings are PTA members, the principal and two teacher representatives
from each of the school's grade levels.
During meetings, officers begin by reviewing minutes from the previous
meeting; they then update the budget and check on committee progress. In
addition, questions or problems at-hand are addressed, and ideas and suggestions
for the matters are shared by those present.
As president of the association, Powell's main responsibilities concentrate
on running the meetings, establishing the agenda for each meeting, and delegating
each meeting to assure that matters progress according to plan. Aside from
school duties, she also cares for her family. Powell has two children who
attend Oak Mesa, in the first and fourth grades. She says she became involved
with the PTA in order to gain personal awareness, to be a part of the "goings
on," and to help enhance the education of all children at the school.
"The PTA gets incredible support from the teachers, and our principal
is one in a million. He is supportive of everything we do," she says.
Powell adds that one of the PTA's main goals includes getting things directly
into the classrooms in order to really affect education.
The association is working to provide full sets of dictionaries, consumable
workbooks and pull-down maps for each classroom. Currently, however, its
primarily focus is toward supporting the school's upper grade level classrooms
that support up to 34 students in each class.
Principal Milligan says that Oak Mesa would be quite different without
the help and involvement of parents and teachers in this association. He
feels the activities they provide adds to the school climate and culture.
"The extra curricular activities give the children the chance to
apply what they have learned," says Milligan.
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