The Windsor Knolls Middle School Parent Teacher Student Association held a “Banner Reveal” and reception at the school media center on Oct. 22 in celebration of being named a National Parent Teacher Association School of Excellence. “As a National PTA School of Excellence,” wrote National PTA President Leslie Boggs, “… you have demonstrated what 40 years of research has proved—amazing things can be achieved when schools and families work together to accomplish a common goal.”
According to Whitney Cummins, current 2019-2020 WKMS PTSA president, the award was granted “in recognition of the organization’s commitment to building an inclusive and welcoming school-community where all families contribute to enriching the … educational experience and overall well-being” of all students.
On the day of the banner reveal, students designated as peer ambassadors escorted visitors from the front office to the media center. Deputy Superintendent Dr. Markoe was in attendance, along with school board members, including Vice President Joy Schaeffer, Lois Jarmin, Jay Mason and Karen Yoho. Yoho, the second WKMS PTSA president, attended with her old WKMS t-shirt in hand.
Principal Brian Vasquenza welcomed the guests. In his opening remarks, he noted, “Academic success and overall success is no small task. …This is just one mile marker in our journey to be our best.”
Markoe also addressed attendees. “Studies show a correlation between parent engagement and student success,” he said, adding that he hopes that this award will encourage the community to “continue to be a powerful force in the lives of our students.”
Michele Jaeb, the PTSA vice president 2018-2019, had submitted the application to the National Parent Teacher Association. “I knew what an amazing PTSA we had and wanted everyone else to know as well,” she said.
Last year, the PTSA hosted four dances, brought a meteorologist to present to students, provided stipends for teachers, held fundraisers, provided volunteers for events such as the carnival, donated to student clubs, and brought speakers in to PTSA meetings. “We will continue with family and community engagement,” said Cummins, including “service projects that the whole family and community can take part in.”
“I’m hoping with the award people will see it’s about the kids—not about the parents, not about us—about the kids,” said Jaeb.
As a parent, Jaeb had been concerned that there wouldn’t be as many opportunities for her to volunteer in middle school as in elementary school, but she soon realized that “at the middle school level, (involvement in the PTSA) is just as important.”
Even when parents can’t volunteer, she added, “being members and paying dues funds the activities.”
PTA School of Excellence award winners were judged on six standards: welcoming all families into the school community, communicating effectively, supporting student success, speaking up for every child, sharing power and collaborating with community.